Selecting and hiring a lawyer is no easy undertaking. While it may seem, in theory at least, quite straightforward, but it most certainly is not. Hiring a lawyer can be, in this author’s opinion, one of the most stressful and laborious things a person will have to do. Not only do you have to find a lawyer who is well regarded in the community and in their specialized field, but you have to find one who is cost-effective, efficient, and seems enthusiastic about representing you. Picking the wrong lawyer can be a detriment to your case.
In this article, we will bring you a few important questions that you absolutely must ask a lawyer before you hire one.
Their Experience, and How Long They Have Practiced
The first thing you need to gauge when dealing with a lawyer, and perhaps the most important thing, is their experience and how long they have practiced law. A trainee lawyer, while maybe qualified, is not necessarily going to be the best pick for a serious case. You need to have your legal questions answered immediately, and do not need any delays, so in that regard, you need an experienced, trained, and qualified lawyer. This is, undoubtedly, the first thing you need to establish.
What Is Their Line of Expertise?
Once you have established that they are qualified, experienced, and have practiced law for long enough to instill confidence in you, you must then ask them about their line of experience, and what it is that they specialize in. This is fundamentally important. While a lawyer may, on paper, be a criminal lawyer, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be able to represent you in all aspects of criminal law. Ask them what their line of expertise is and what it is that they deal with best.
What Is Their Typical Client?
When interviewing a lawyer, you want to find out who their typical client is. Do they tend to represent people through legal aid or privately? If the lawyer you are interviewing seldom deals with private cases, and deals mainly with legal aid, you may want to find another lawyer (provided that you are a private client). This is because the legal aid case is quite often closed and shut and does not need much research or practice. A private lawyer, however, has to deliver every single time and be a master of their craft.
Have You Represented Similar Clients?
You will ideally want your chosen lawyer to have represented clients with cases similar to your own. If the lawyer has, then you can rest in the knowledge that they know what they are doing, have been there before, and are qualified enough to represent you. While them not having represented similar cases is not necessarily a disqualifier, it is still something to think about. Most important of all is the confidence that they give to you – if they have had prior experience, you will undoubtedly feel confident that they are qualified.
What’s the Cost?
What’s the cost? That’s probably the first thing that you will be wondering, right? You might want to ask that to begin with, though if you are not short of money, then you could wait until you are satisfied in all other regards with them. The subject of money is an ugly one, and it is best saved ‘til last. If you cannot afford a lawyer, remember you could potentially be eligible for legal aid. Legal aid does, in some regards, remove the crème de la crème of lawyers from your list, but you can still find some good lawyers notwithstanding legal aid.
What Is Their Personal Philosophy?
Gauging your prospective lawyer’s personal philosophy toward their trade is a question that could catch them off-guard. Watching them scramble to answer can tell you a lot about that person; are they cool and collected? are they haphazard and chaotic? Being quick to respond and keeping their cool is something you want in a lawyer and is a very admirable trait for anyone in the legal industry. The answer to this question is not particularly important, it is instead the process of how they reach the answer that you want to pay attention to.
Selecting a lawyer is never going to be easy, but with the help of this article, it should be simpler (to a point). By asking the right questions, you can gauge their commitment, and hopefully, find the right lawyer to represent you