Questions To Ask Before You Retain That Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer can be a major life decision for some people. While a case is a case, the lawyer that you select can mean the difference between a settlement and dismissal of your case. In the day where judges are swamped with work and many are underpaid, a good lawyer, regardless of any kind (property lawyer, insurance lawyer, injury lawyer or even Baltimore car accident lawyer) can save your case in the end. Depending upon the services you require from an attorney, the overall questions may be different, However, there are certain things that regardless of the type of case you present, at minimum these questions should be the first on your list when you have a consultation.
Now, before you ask any questions of the attorney you should survey the office for your own comfort level. Does the office appear to be in order? Do you see files on the floor and out of place? Is there a receptionist? Was it easy to get through when you called for a consultation? Did you have to wait more than 20 minutes for your scheduled appointment? These questions are fairly simple, but many people overlook them in anticipation of speaking to an attorney about their case. The honest truth is this, if the office appears to be i disarray, files are on the floor, there is no receptionist and it took 2 days to speak to a live person, this office is likely not the one to consider. Not that the attorney or his/her staff is not competent in the area of law, However, an office which appears to be on the outside as unorganized, likely is and will cause you more problems then anything. That is not to say that a well appearance in an office means you will get the best results either. However, in all honesty, you will probably get better service in the end. For sole practicioners the rules might be different as their office space may be shared and what you see when you go for the consultation may not be all on the lawyer you are meeting with.
Now, the meeting has begun, what are the questions that you should consider to ask the lawyer while in his/her office. Here are some general questions which should help you decide if the lawyer is the right one to handle your case.
1. How long have you been practicing? This question will give you a better idea as to the knowledge that the attorney may have in that particular area.
2. What are your working hours? For obvious reasons you want to know if the firm is one that is only open 2 days a week for 3 hours.
3. Who will be the attorney handling your case? At times, people retain a firm thinking that the partner they spoke to would be the person handling their matter, only to find out later on that it would be handled by an associate. This really comes into play when you go to a firm with a well known lawyer and you anticipate that he/she will be the person handling your case.
- What is the lawyers honest opinion about the chances of success with your case? This is a question that you should ask so that you can look at your case in an objective manner. Sometimes we look at cases with a tunnel vision and do not consider the big picture. Take what the lawyer says and balance his/her opinion with your own.
Lastly, pay attention to the lawyers demeanor when answering your questions. Does he/she happen to appear quick to answer your question with one word answers or is he/she willing to explain to you the law and the consequences for your particular case.
All in all depending upon the lawyers response and your personal feelings after the consultation you should be able to make a well informed decision. You should consider also speaking to friends and neighbors who may have had an experience with that lawyer to get another persons experience.