Lifestyle

10 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Lawyer

If you’re wondering whether you need a lawyer, the answer is always: you need a lawyer. The law can be confusing and overwhelming, and legal proceedings can get nasty when there’s money on the line. It’s easy to make simple mistakes that cost you big money. The following will explore a few key things you might want to keep in mind as you look for an attorney to represent you or provide legal counsel.

Look At Experience

When you’re looking into lawyers, it’s a good idea to read up on their websites about their past experience. You’re looking for someone who has dealt with a similar situation to the one you’re in many times before. Most attorneys and law firms will make this information available on their websites. These personal injury lawyers in Virginia Beach, for instance, present past cases and their conclusions beneath each category of legal proceeding they deal with. Look at how long a firm has been in business and how many years lawyers within that firm have been practicing. If this information isn’t listed, it’s okay to ask for it. The law is a highly complicated thing, and it often takes many years of practice before a person can work optimally with it.

Book Free Consultation

Lawyers should offer free consultations to potential clients. This is an interview that allows you to present your situation and feel out what it would feel like to work with one another. Use this time to ask questions about your situation and the different courses of action a given lawyer thinks you should take. Pay attention to how it feels to work with this person. 

No matter how innocent or deserving you are, no one goes through a court case without getting stressed. In many situations, your lawyer is going to be the one who breaks down what’s coming next, helping you stay emotionally level throughout the process and stay on top of deadlines and forms. This person might see you in an emotional state; they might talk you through some rough moments. It’s important to keep this in mind when you’re in the midst of consultations.

Ask How They’re Planning To Handle Your Situation

A lawyer is a strategist. This is someone who is going to look at your situation and recommend a course of action that is most likely to produce an outcome that’s in your best interest. Ask what they intend to do during your consultation. You also want to ask about your role in each step of this plan. It’s good to be clear on what’s expected of you in what timeline so you don’t slow down the process.

Connections

Depending on the nature of your legal situation, you might need the input of experts outside the field of law. A lawyer might be able to recommend medical professionals, mechanics or other experts that you can meet with as part of gathering evidence. You better believe that insurance companies have their own doctors and experts that support their desired outcomes. Many established lawyers will know where you need to go and who you need to talk to to get fair and unbiased evidence.

How Often Are They Interrupted

As stated above, most lawyers offer some sort of consultation for free. During this meeting, take note of how often you are interrupted. If the lawyer in question is constantly taking calls or a member of the legal team is continually sticking their head into the office, this is a strong indication that it’s going to be hard to get and keep the lawyer’s attention should you decide to work together.

No One Can Promise Anything

While good lawyers will often have a sense of what outcomes are likely, be wary of anyone who promises a specific end result. No lawyer, no matter how experienced, can guarantee a particular conclusion. This is because new information can come to light at any point during the process. People you’re interacting with can change their approach or story.

You Can Understand Them

One of the primary services a lawyer should provide is clarity. When speaking to a potential attorney, it’s important that they’re able to explain things to you in a way that you’ll understand. If you’re confused or find your questions are ignored or not properly answered, this is a pretty good indication that this isn’t the right lawyer for you. This whole process is going to be a lot more stressful if you don’t know what’s going on.

Ask About The Rest Of The Team

Most lawyers aren’t islands. In the majority of cases, a law firm will have several people who work together on cases that arise. This means that in addition to the lawyer you’re meeting with, you might be having phone calls with other staff at the firm. Ask about who else you’ll be working with and see if you can interact with them briefly as part of your consultation. 

Ask About Timelines

People who aren’t used to working with the law often underestimate the time legal proceedings take. It’s a good idea to ask lawyers for their estimate of how long things will take so you can develop more realistic expectations. Most legal proceedings are marathons, not sprints. And, believe it or not, courts are still dealing with bottlenecks and backups from the various lockdowns and slowdowns that began in 2020. It’s possible wait times are a lot longer than you’re anticipating.

Ask For A Fee Breakdown

There are lots of different ways that lawyers charge their clients. There might be an hourly fee that will vary depending on how much time a lawyer works on your case. There might be a fixed fee for the entire process, so you know exactly how much it’s going to cost right from the start. There might also be a contingency fee which usually means that a lawyer doesn’t charge you anything unless they win your case. In some contingency agreements, you’re still required to pay for expenses. If that’s the case, ask what they expect the expenses to be.

The above information should have outlined a few key considerations you need to have when you’re looking for a lawyer. It’s important to take time for your mental health throughout this process, as dealing with the law isn’t always easy. Make sure you’re resting and taking proper care of yourself.

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