There are a myriad of scenarios when you need a lawyer because they can provide legal advice for various situations. But how do you make a decision? Where do you find the right lawyer? How do you pick the one beneficial for your case?
Most lawyers offer free or affordable first consultations to discuss the details of your case, and it gives you the opportunity to ask them some questions to determine if they are the right choice for your situation. The meeting shouldn’t only help you figure out if you should hire them, but also if you need a lawyer in general. If you later decide to work with them, you can get into more details about your case, and ask more specific questions.
But for the first consultation, the following questions are mandatory.
Do you offer a free initial consultation?
For a lawyer to properly evaluate your situation and get a complete understanding of the case, they need to meet you face-to-face to discuss all the details. An expert lawyer won’t advertise themselves as offering quotes over the phone, after a 5-minute phone conversation. For the quote to be accurate, they need to meet you in person to discuss peculiarities.
The face to face consultation can also give you a feel about them and help you understand if you feel comfortable working with them in the long run.
During the first consultation, besides the questions you ask, the lawyer should review:
- The specifics of the case and the charges against you, if there are any
- The situation itself. Who did what to who? Who said what to whom? Were the police involved? Where your rights violated?
- Your criminal history
- Your life history, employment, and education if they are relevant for the case
With knowledge at hand, they can provide you with answers to your questions and tell you what the best defence for your case is.
What is your practice focused primarily on?
Lawyers, similarly to doctors, acquire knowledge in general law and specialize in a particular area. But technically, any lawyer with a license can represent anyone in any situation. This is why many lawyers advertise their services like general practice because they take cases from all domains. Some call them the jack of all trades because they have skills in all fields and know a little about many things.
But it’s best to work with a lawyer that is specialized in the area that interests you (divorce, family law, personal injury, criminal). When your reputation, future or even liberty are at stake, you want the best professional to stay by your side. You want someone focused on the practice of law your case falls within.
Only through years of practice and work with clients, they acquire the needed skills and knowledge to appreciate the cases that have a claim and the arguments that work best with judges. In this field, nothing beats the experience of hundreds of cases in the same area of practice. Put it this way; if you have eczema, you don’t see a cardiologist, you head to a dermatologist. In the same fashion, when you use a directory like Advokatmatch to look for a lawyer, browse for the ones specialized in the field you need assistance with.
Do I have a claim?
You want to work with someone interested in getting you the best resolution, not someone who is looking only for your money. However, for the lawyer to tell you the first consultation if you have a claim, is difficult. But, most times they can determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit, appeal a decision or pursue a settlement. They can evaluate your case, ask you some questions, and recommend a solution or another.
During your first meet, give them a brief account of your situation to help them shed some light on whether you have a claim or not. They can even suggest an alternative if they find it’s a solution.
What is your prior experience?
During your first consultation, you should also find out more about their prior experience. A history of victories in cases similar to yours will help you understand if they are the right expert to hire. Ask the lawyer to talk a little about their most memorable victories or experiences in the field. If they prove to be passionate about their job and miss no opportunity to share with their clients why they’ve chosen this path, they’re a good hire.
However, don’t choose passion over knowledge and experience. The last is more important because they influence your chances. The best solution would be to find someone enthusiastic to work with you and have the experience and education to win your case.
How much do your charge?
This subject can be sensitive because you want to find the best in the field to solve your situation, but you also want to find someone who has an affordable fee. Don’t commit to hiring a lawyer that creates a financial problem while solving a legal one. Also, don’t choose someone who doesn’t provide a straight answer because each lawyer has their own way to calculate the fee.
Some charge on an hourly basis and ask an initial deposit. This agreement can prove detrimental because the ultimate fee is unpredictable and can grow significantly. When your case takes months or even years to resolve, an hourly based lawyer can cost you a fortune.
It’s best to hire someone who asks for a flat or fixed fee. This means you know exactly how much you have to pay them. Experts who ask a fixed charge find more important to provide their clients with excellent service and value.
Don’t forget to ask the lawyer what does the fee include. Besides the actual trial, the lawyer completes many other tasks; they do paperwork, held pre-trial motions, organize consultations, and do research work.
The price the expert asks for a case is dependent upon its complexity, the aggravating factors of the charge, and the length of time they estimate they need to resolve the case.