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Published On: Thu, Aug 3rd, 2017

How to Interview a Potential Lawyer

We all hope to avoid the inside of a courtroom but it is inevitable that some of us will end up there through no fault of our own. If this happens to you, it will help enormously if you are confident in the legal representation you secure. After identifying the kind of lawyer you require, and finding someone who has the requisite specialty and experience, you will want to sit down and discuss things with them. Most of us would be approaching this situation from a position of ignorance and have probably never given any thought to how we might assess a lawyer’s suitability. Below is a quick guide to the most important questions you should be asking and how to interpret the responses you receive.

Photo/Nodar Kherkheulidze via wikimedia commons

Can You Offer a Free Consultation?

Many lawyers will be happy to take an initial meeting with you in order to discuss your needs and advise you on how to best proceed. Note that some lawyers will charge you for their time regardless of circumstance. You should check this with them beforehand, and if a free consultation is available you should take advantage of it.

What Fee Structure Do You Operate?

Different lawyers will offer different arrangements for paying their fees. Some will offer a ‘no win, no fee’ deal where you pay them a certain percentage of whatever settlement you negotiate or are awarded while others will charge you an hourly rate or a flat fee. Some offer a combination of the two, charging a lower hourly or flat fee and then a certain percentage of the settlement if successful.

Do You Have Previous Experience with Similar Cases?

You should also ask them what percentage of such cases they were successful with and what kind of settlements they were able to reach. Your case may involve unique or rare circumstances and so be somewhat unpredictable for the attorney; this doesn’t necessarily mean the attorney is inexperienced or unsuitable. If that is the case, you might want to ask them whether they have a colleague who can advise or who has dealt with similar cases.

Can You Tell Me About Your Background?

It will help put your mind at ease if you can establish trust and confidence with your lawyer. Ask them how long they have been practicing law and how much of their career they have spent practicing the relevant specialty. If you are pursuing a personal injury claim, there is no sense in hiring a lawyer with a specialty in copyright law. You should also ask for references from previous clients and any lawyer should be happy to provide you with these. Of course, they may wish to consult with previous clients to ensure they are happy for their personal information to be passed on to you.

Remember that lawyers will have their own network and will have built a relationship with other lawyers they have worked with, even if they find themselves on opposing sides in court. If the lawyer you are speaking to is unsuitable for your needs, they may still be able to recommend another more suitable colleague. It is important that you trust and feel confident with your lawyer as they will be representing your interests in the courtroom.

Author: Lolita Di

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