6 Questions to Ask When Hiring an Attorney
Are you thinking about hiring an attorney? If so, you will likely speak with many firms before making a final decision. The information collected during this process is critical for successful resolution and ensuring a good fit between you and an attorney.
But what questions should you ask, and what types of answers will be the most helpful in moving your case toward resolution? Here are six questions you should ask every attorney you speak with:
What percentage of your practice is devoted to cases like mine? You want to understand the track record of your attorney with these specific types of cases. For example, out of the cases the attorney has represented, how many either settled or were won?
How will I be charged? Most attorneys charge in one of three ways: hourly, flat fee, or contingency (which is a percentage of the amount recovered). Ask how you will be charged and, if applicable, request an estimate of the number of hours that will be required.
How do you communicate with clients? Staying informed as your case progresses is important. Understand whether you will be interacting directly with the attorney or with someone else in the office. Ask about response times to phone calls and emails. Can someone be reached after hours, and if so, how? The answers to these questions will set clear expectations and reduce frustration.
Who will be working on your case? The first meeting may occur with a senior partner in the firm, but other people may actually be working on your case. Understand whether it will be junior associates, paralegals, the attorney, or a combination of all three.
Are there other ways to resolve your legal problem? Could you resolve your matter through arbitration or another out-of-court arrangement? Ask whether there is a less time-consuming — and less costly — method for resolving your matter.
What is the most likely outcome of your case? If the firm represents a large number of cases similar to yours, it is a great resource for understanding potential outcomes. Based on the firm’s expertise, ask for opinions about the most likely outcomes and for recommendations for the best way forward.
Asking the right questions is a good way to start the process of hiring an attorney. But it’s also important to ensure that you’re comfortable with the attorney and the team. Do they answer your questions thoughtfully? Are you comfortable asking whatever is on your mind? A strong relationship is critical to moving forward, so let this factor weigh in your decision as well.
Do you have questions or need to speak with an attorney? If so, please contact us today at 914-437-5955.
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- Michael LaMagna, LNHA, MPA, JD concentrates in the areas of Medicaid and Advanced Asset Protection Planning, Elder Law, Trusts and Estates, Probate and Probate Litigation, Guardianships, Health Care Regulatory Matters, Nursing Home Placement, Long Term Care Insurance, Medicare Appeals, Social Security/SSI Litigation and Special Needs Law. If you have a question for Mr. LaMagna, please call him at (914) 437-5955.