When it comes to hiring a lawyer, you likely want to have a consultation with the lawyer before you decide to hire them as depending on how complicated and involved it is, you want to make sure you are able to work together. Many lawyers offer a free consultation or charge a minimal fee, so make sure you ask before assuming. Chances are you have not consulted with a lawyer before, so here are some things for you to keep in mind. A big part of what happens in the consultation is that you evaluate the lawyer and the lawyer evaluates you. You may like and want to hire the lawyer, but they may not have a reason that they do not want to represent you for whatever reason.
When you visit the lawyer, here are some of the things you will want to evaluate:
- How well does your potential attorney listen to you and your issue? Do they understand what the issue is and what you want their assistance to do?
- Is the lawyer able to explain to you what your case would be and present it to you in a manner that you are able to understand? Did the lawyer explain what the different resolutions might be and how they could affect you?
- Do you get the impression that they can help you resolve the issue satisfactorily within what you can afford to pay?
- Have they handled cases that are similar to yours and how did they go?
- Who will be doing most of the work on your case? Typically this is a member of the staff, as there will be a fair bit of research to be done.
- What will be required of you throughout the process of your case from beginning to the resolution?
- Find out if there are any potential conflicts of interest due to the particulars of your case.
- How much do they think your case will ultimately cost to resolve?
- When you call with a question or concern, how long does it typically take to get a reply to your query? Be aware that a lot of the work will be given to the lawyer's staff to assist with. As a result, if you have a chance to meet the staff and interact with them at all, you want to see how they treat you as well as how they treat each other and the lawyer. This gives you an idea how they will react and work with you throughout the case, as depending on how complicated your case is; you may be spending a lot of time with them.
Before you end your consultation, you will want to discuss money with your potential attorney. You need to know what method they use for charging for their services, by the hour, on a contingency, or through a retainer system. If you need some time to think about this before making the final decision, make sure your lawyer knows this.