When deciding who you want to represent you in a courtroom, there are a few things to consider and questions to ask in order to have the best experience possible.
A law is a system or set of rules made by each level of government; cities, counties, states and federal. They regulate the actions of its citizens and enforces each with a penalty. There are also different types of law; International, Constitutional, Criminal, Contract, Tort, Property, Family, Immigration, Tax, and Religious, to name a few. When choosing an attorney, you will want to be sure to choose one in the area of law in which you need an expert. If you are needing legal defense in a tax case, you want to avoid hiring someone who has dealt with mainly Tort or Immigration law. If you are hiring a criminal attorney, make sure he/she has the experience you require for your case.
When hiring an attorney, here are a few questions to ask:
- How long have they been in practice?
Lawyers have to start somewhere and being fresh out of law school is not always a negative, however, you need to decide if your case – and you – require more experience.
- How many cases have they worked in the area of practice?
A lawyer can have multiple areas of expertise, but knowing how often they put into practice their knowledge of that area will be beneficial.
- What is their typical client?
This is important because the attorney you are considering hiring may have tried countless contract cases, but you have a need for a criminal lawyer, this means their typical client may have a higher net worth than a divorcing couple.
- Is your case similar to previous cases?
This is where you learn about their history. Cases won. Cases settled. Cases lost. You can even discuss strategy
- How do they approach a case?
This question is all about their litigation style. Cut-throat versus soft-spoken.
- Have they had special training to enhance their knowledge?
An attorney is required to attend continuing education classes, if your case is domestic have they attended mediation courses. If you are fighting a DUI, have they taken a course for this?
- Ask if there are other ways to solve your legal problem.
In some cases you may be able to avoid court, your lawyer will have, or can get, this information. Don’t be afraid to ask how or why it would be an option.
- How do they bill?
Some lawyers will utilize a paralegal or legal assistant. If so, ask if their time is a cost savings to you and how you will be billed.
- How do they communicate updates to your case?
This is important because every phone call and email exchange is a billable communication. You will want to know what is going on, but if cost is a factor, set up expectations for being kept up-to-date.
- How do they expect your case to turn out?
This is for your preparation. Your lawyer can assess your circumstances and compare to similar cases they have had. If your case is easy, you’ll know what to expect. If your case is going to be difficult and drawn out, you are ready.