What Do You Need to Know Before Hiring a Lawyer?
One of the questions we get most often is, “what should I ask a lawyer?” We understand that you may be uncomfortable around lawyers and we want to change that. We are people, just like you and want to make sure you’re treated with dignity and respect. So, if you are around our firm or others, be sure to ask these questions:
1. What experience does the lawyer have with this type of case if it goes to trial?
Many lawyers are great at “working up” the case, but try to avoid going to trial even when the other side is offering an unreasonable settlement offer. Most lawyers who try a lot of cases handle the case from the beginning as if it will proceed to trial. If the case settles, fine. If not, they are prepared to try the case. A lawyer who handles the case as if it is going to settle either must accept an unreasonably low settlement offer or not be fully prepared for a trial. In either event, the client loses.
2. Will I have control of the decision to settle the case or proceed to trial?
Some lawyers seek little or no input from the client when the decision to settle or try the case is at hand. Make sure that the lawyer you choose allows such input and cannot settle your case without your express direction to do so.
3. What costs will be involved in handling my case?
Costs are a necessary part of any case. Almost all lawyers take a fee on the total amount recovered, while the costs come out of the client’s portion. If those costs are high, the client’s recovery can be substantially reduced. Make sure your lawyer will provide a detailed accounting of the costs as the case progresses so there are no surprises.
4. How is the value of my case determined?
It is important to understand how a lawyer evaluates cases. Most lawyers use a combination of experience and a review of past cases in considering the potential value of the case. The chance of proving liability and the fault of the client or other parties is also a consideration in the evaluation.
5. What are my chances for success in this case?
It is also important to understand the realistic chances of success in your case. The attorney should explain the challenges in the case to avoid any misunderstandings later.
We hope these questions will help you determine which lawyer is the best fit for your needs. If you’d like to have more questions than these, please call us at (701) 402-6644 and we’d love to assist you. You can also fill out our online contact form to schedule a free case evaluation!