Evaluating Attorneys

Some general questions to ask if your loved one needs to find an attorney to handle any of his or her legal matters.

When searching for an attorney, there are certain qualities that you should look for, and, therefore, certain questions that you should ask. The following points are questions that you should ask any attorney when trying to decide if he or she is right for you and your loved one. Try asking these questions to several attorneys, and compare their answers before making a final decision.

  • How many attorneys are in the office?
  • Who will handle your case?
  • If a trial is involved, does this attorney do trial work?
  • Is the attorney a member of the local bar association?
  • Will you be meeting with this attorney during your initial meeting?
  • How long has the attorney been in practice?
  • What type of law does he or she specialize in?
  • How long has he or she been in this field?
  • What percentage of his or her practice does he or she devote to this type of law?
  • Is there a fee for the first consultation and if so, how much?
  • Does the attorney bill differently for work that office paralegals or clerks do on your case?
  • What does the attorney charge for out-of-pocket costs?
  • How frequently does the attorney bill?
  • Would the attorney require a retainer in your case?
  • Would you be required to sign a contract?
  • Can an estimated fee for services be given?
  • Given the nature of your problem, what information should you have at the initial consultation?

Once you have found the best attorney for your situation, attend the initial session and explain why you are seeking the attorney’s assistance. During this meeting it is a good idea to ask:

  • What are my alternatives?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages to each possibility?

After deciding on a course of action, ask your attorney for this in writing. Be sure to keep a copy of this in your files. Additionally, make sure that you understand what is required of you to help the attorney work on your case.

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