At some point in their lives, people may need to consult with legal counsel to handle an important legal matter. Attorneys are in place to help people with law-related situations. They are the ones that are able to work for you in a court case or provide guidance in other legal situations. When seeking out a personal injury attorney, it is essential that you come prepared not only with your personal documents related to your case, but questions for that attorney. Many firms offer free consultations such as Kuzyk Law so you can use this time to ask questions when shopping around for the best attorney that fits your needs. Here, we have compiled a list of 11 questions that you should ask an attorney upon that initial free consultation:
- “How long have you been practicing law?”
This question is important to determine an attorney’s work history and credibility. There is a major difference between someone who has practiced for 10 or 20 years versus someone who is fresh out of law school. When it comes to handling your case, you want an attorney with plenty of experience and can give you confidence in his/her abilities. Kuzyk Law has been practicing personal injury law since 1971.
- “What types of cases do you specialize in? What percentage of your practice is devoted to (the practice area in question)?”
Depending on your need, you want to be sure that the attorney can handle a case specific to yours. For instance, if you need someone who specializes in auto accidents, then he/she should be able to handle it. The attorney should also be able to provide evidence of being successful at taking on those cases. He/She may specialize in the type of law that you need, but rarely winning those cases does nothing for you.
- “Who is your typical client?”
This question is valid because you want to know that the firm is able to handle a client such as yourself. You may be looking for a Los Angeles personal injury attorney, but come to find out that the firm only represents corporations in health law. If you have someone working on your side, you want to be sure he/she understands your situation and your needs in order to effectively represent you.
- “How many cases have you represented that were similar to mine?”
A good track record is ideal. You should not feel apprehensive about asking this question. You want to know just how many cases this attorney has won, as it will help you determine if he/she can win yours.
- “Other than a law degree, do you have any special certifications, training or knowledge that can benefit my case?”
Being able to work with someone who has a diverse professional background can increase your chances of winning a case. Special cases such as DWI or immigration law require extra training and may have valuable certifications. If these cases are specific to you, it would be helpful to have an attorney with this expertise on your side.
- “What are your attorney fees and what is your billing process? Also, will paralegals or legal assistants handle any portion of my case?”
As good as an attorney needs to be for you, you will also need someone you can afford. You want the firm to communicate with you regarding their billing practices as well as if they offer any types of payment plan options. Plus, you also want to know how much work they will actually be doing and how much may be done by administrative assistants.
- “What is your philosophy when it comes to representing clients?”
Asking this question gives you a slight glimpse into an attorney’s style of practicing law. He/She could be very aggressive or timidly conservative. As it will depend on your preference, the case itself will render what type of attorney you need in order to be successful. Having someone who can be amicable during an estate planning case is ideal because he/she can be sensitive to the situation. All the while, you may need someone who is more aggressive during a divorce or personal injury case.
- “Are there alternatives to solving my legal case?”
Good attorneys are those who are honest about alternative methods that can save you time and money down the road. In child custody cases, your attorney may suggest mediation over court to save on time-consuming court sessions and costs. The attorney is looking out for your best interests, not a way to make more money from you.
- “How will you communicate with me during the duration of my case?”
Putting your case, sometimes your life, in an attorney’s hands can be a scary thought. So, having him/her lay out the process and clarifying how often he/she will be communicating with you about your case is important for your peace of mind. Communication is key for any attorney-client relationship.
- “What is the probable outcome of my case?”
Just as you are looking for an honest attorney, you want him/her to be honest with you. You simply want to know what your chances are in terms of winning case. If he/she is able to offer you some insight into your probability of success that can help you determine if you believe the case is worth pursuing in the first place. This question will also help you gauge the attorney’s success rate and ability to represent you effectively.
- “How long should I expect the entire process to last?”
Miracles do not happen overnight…but you do want to get an idea of how long the entire process might be. This helps you plan for time taken off of work, altering vacations, finding a babysitter, whichever that may be. You do not want to be told that it will only take a few weeks and it ends up taking months or years. The communication factor applies again where the attorney should give you reasonable timeframes so you know what to expect and can plan accordingly.
You should never feel hesitant about asking vital questions when choosing an attorney. Being able to ask these questions and receiving answers that fit your needs can ensure that you made the right choice. Kuzyk Law and our attorneys know how important it is for you to feel confident in your choice of legal guidance.
For the best in personal injury representation, contact Kuzyk Law. Your consultation is free, and we don’t get paid until you do!