A consultation with a law firm can help you determine whether to hire them to handle your case. As you prepare to meet with the attorney, it’s important to have some key questions prepared so that you can learn about their abilities and experience as well as assess their fees. Here are seven questions that will help you get started with your discussion.
How many cases like mine have you handled in the past?
There are many questions you can ask, but try to gauge how much experience they have with your specific situation. If they handle cases like yours all of the time, then you’re in good hands.
If they don’t have much experience, that doesn’t mean they aren’t great—but it is something you should take into consideration when deciding whether or not their services are right for you.
What are my chances of winning?
When you’re in consultation with an attorney about your potential case, there are three questions you should always ask:
(1) What are my chances of winning?
(2) How much will it cost me if I lose? and
(3) How long do I have to file my claim? These questions show that you’re serious about protecting your rights, which can win over skeptical attorneys.
How much do these types of cases cost on average?
The first thing to know is that every case is different. Some cases cost very little, but many big cases cost a lot of money. It’s important to have an idea of what you are looking for in terms of compensation before you start talking numbers with an attorney. It will be much easier to determine if you will work well together and make progress if you don’t have vastly different expectations.
If I don’t win, will I be able to appeal?
Many people who lose their case in court immediately file an appeal, but that can be risky. If you were not happy with how your lawyer conducted your case, it’s probably better to consult with another one first before you appeal.
An attorney can let you know if there is even an opportunity for an appeal and what steps will be needed. When making your decision about whether or not to file an appeal, keep in mind that appeals are very expensive.
If I lose will I have any other legal options available?
If you can’t afford an attorney, you may still have some options. Find out from your local bar association whether there are attorneys who will agree to take your case on contingency—meaning they get paid if and only if they win or settle it for you.
Will you help me seek alternative forms of dispute resolution, such as arbitration or mediation?
An alternative to going to court is to seek alternative forms of dispute resolution, like arbitration or mediation. Although these options are typically less costly than litigation, they can also be time-consuming.
When you ask your lawyer about alternative forms of dispute resolution, he or she should explain in detail what each option involves and provide you with useful information on how it may benefit your case. If you’re looking for more information on ADR strategies and suggestions, check out our other guide here.
Are there any free or low-cost services that could help me right now?
Sometimes you don’t need an attorney, but instead, just someone who knows their way around certain areas of law. A good question to ask in these instances is whether or not they have any free or low-cost services that could help you right now, like providing basic business formation documents (for example). Or, if you’re an entrepreneur who needs help with intellectual property protection, asks whether they provide consultations for people in your area of interest.