Top Questions For a Lawyer before You Sign a Retainer

Before choosing an attorney and signing a retainer, it is important that you make a list of questions for a lawyer.The answers to these questions will help you determine who is the best attorney to handle your specific case. An experienced attorney who has the means and resources to commit to you and your needs is crucial for resolving any legal matter. Every case is unique so the answers to these questions for a lawyer will vary depending on the legal matter. Know before you interview a prospective lawyer what your needs are and what you require from your attorney.

Questions for a Lawyer

The following are some of the top questions for a lawyer that you should ask before you put him or her on retainer:

  1. What is your experience in this field? There are many types of lawyers and it is important that you chose one with extensive experience in the field in which you require legal advice.
  2. Have you handled matters like mine? Ask for specific examples of cases your attorney has handled in the past so that you can be sure this lawyer will know how to handle your case.
  3. What are the possible outcomes of my case? It is important that you and your lawyer are on the same page when it comes to the outcome of your case. Make sure your attorney believes that you can get the best possible outcome.
  4. What are my alternatives in resolving the matter? Ask a lawyer how he or she plants to resolve your case. There are many ways your legal matter can be handled and it is important that you understand all your options.
  5. Approximately how long will it take to resolve? Legal matters can take a long time to resolve, which can be quite expensive. Get an approximate timeline, so you are not unprepared for a long legal process and so that you can prepare for the costs.
  6. What are your rates and how will you bill me? It is important that you know what your attorney charges, not only so that you can make sure you can afford his or her services, but also so that you are not surprised by any hidden fees. Legal services can be expensive and many attorneys charge differently. You don’t need the added stress of worrying whether or not you will be able to afford your lawyer fees so ask upfront what the rates will be.
  7. How will you keep me informed of progress? Some lawyers are very involved with their clients and others tend to work on their own and only update their client when they feel it is necessary. Decide how involved you want to be in the case and talk to your lawyer about how they typically work with a client.
  8. Who else in the office will be working on my case? If you are considering hiring a lawyer who works in a large firm, there may be several people working on your case. Find out who specifically is handling your legal matter. If you chose to go with a lawyer who works for a smaller firm or has their own practice, there may only be one or two people handling the case. Make sure you are comfortable with who will be handling your case on a day to day basis.

Joshua Just, an attorney in New York City, has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer, which gives him unique insight to many legal matters.

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