Hiring an attorney to represent you in your case can be stressful. It is hard to know who to hire, or how to find the right attorney for the job.
You may also wonder, is there even a difference between a lawyer and an attorney? While the answer to this is fairly simple – an attorney is a lawyer who graduated law school, passed the bar, and met other qualifications – while a lawyer is someone who has just gone to law school.
However, this is just one factor that can help you decide who should represent you and your case in court. You also need to know what to ask the attorneys you are considering hiring.
Here are some of the best questions to ask during the initial consultation with potential representatives.
What Type of Experience do You Have with Similar Cases?
You must find out how comfortable the attorney is representing cases similar to yours. While no two cases are exactly the same, an attorney with similar previous cases will be able to find some commonalities between your case and those they have worked on in the past.
Some questions to ask include:
- Where did you go to law school?
- How often do you handle similar cases?
- How long have you practiced in the state?
- What types of cases do you typically handle?
- Do you have any client testimonials?
What Strategy Would You use for my Case?
Usually, attorneys will not provide you with specific legal advice during the initial consultation. However, they should explain the possible approaches they would take for your unique case, if you were to become their client. They may also provide you with a general overview of the strategy they typically follow.
Are there Alternatives to Going to Court?
This is particularly important for personal injury cases, where there is a higher likelihood you can avoid having to go to court. Attorneys will usually try to negotiate a fair settlement with the at-fault party’s insurance company before filing an official lawsuit. Even after you have filed a lawsuit, arbitration and mediation may still be viable ways to resolve the issue.
What Are the Most Likely Outcomes for my Case?
There are many attorneys who may only tell you things they feel you want to hear. However, a reputable lawyer is going to provide you with an honest account of how your case will likely conclude. Keep in mind, though, no attorney can provide you with a guarantee or promise of how things will turn out. They can let you know if they foresee any major issues or if a lawsuit may have to be filed.
Who is Actually Going to Handle my Case?
When you meet with an attorney, you may believe they will be the one to handle your case. This is not always true. Sometimes, other lawyers and even paralegals will be working on it as well. It is important for you to ask about your point of contact for the case to ensure you know who will be in charge, and who you should approach with any questions or concerns.
Hiring the Right Attorney Matters
It is essential that you take the right steps to find an attorney who will be able to handle your case and who understands all the nuances that go along with it. Finding the right attorney for your case may seem daunting, but by asking the right questions during your consultation, you can feel confident that you have found and hired the best legal representation for your situation. Don’t rush this process. If you do, you may find you are not comfortable with your attorney and question the strategies moving forward if serious issues arise.