What should you know when hiring a lawyer?
A lawyer can help you understand your rights and solve legal problems. Below are some things to know when hiring an attorney.
How do I find the best lawyer?
Finding the best attorney for your legal matter is similar to making any other financial decision: it’s best to shop around. Abogado.com can help you find local attorneys . Be sure to get answers to the following questions before you hire a lawyer:
- How much experience do you have with issues similar to mine?
- Have you handled cases like mine recently?
- How did you solve the cases? (at a trial or settled)
- Which it was the result?
- Did you win or lose the case?
How do you know if the lawyer to hire is the right one?
This depends on how you feel after meeting the lawyer. Base your decision on how you feel the attorney can handle your case, rather than worrying about the attorney’s age.
Another question you can ask is whether the lawyer will work on your case personally or have another member of his firm handle all or part of the case. If there is a second attorney or other member of the firm involved, you should talk to them as well. Keep in mind that most cases do not have safe results. Be careful if the lawyer guarantees results. What an attorney can do, however, is assess and articulate the strengths and weaknesses of your case.
If you don’t understand everything the lawyer says, ask for an explanation in simple terms. Find out how long the lawyer expects your case to take, what steps he will take to be involved in preparing and bringing the case to trial (if necessary), what you will need to do to prepare the case, and how you will be charged for the lawyer’s services.
How do lawyers set their fees?
Lawyers consider several factors when setting their fees. A more experienced and successful attorney will typically charge a higher hourly rate than a new attorney.
Lawyers may also consider how complicated your case is and the amount of time it will take. Even if the trial only takes half a day, researching the law, finding and interviewing witnesses, as well as preparing documents and arguments for trial can take days, weeks, or even longer. Sometimes unexpected things happen that make the case even more complicated, which can result in higher fees.
What types of fee agreements are there?
In addition to the fees that some attorneys charge for the first consultation, you will typically be charged a fixed, hourly, retainer, contingent, or statutory fee.
- Fixed or standard fees.
- This type of fee is often used by legal clinics and some law firms or attorneys for routine legal matters, such as drafting a simple will or handling an uncontested divorce. When you agree to a fixed rate , make sure you know what’s included and what’s not. You should also find out what other fees may be added in the future.
- Hourly fees
- Hourly fees may vary among different attorneys. To find out what the approximate total of your bill will be, ask the lawyer how long he estimates the case will take. Just remember that circumstances can change and your case may take longer than your attorney originally estimated.
- Advance Fees .
- Advance fees can be used to ensure that the attorney will be available to work on your case, which could mean that they would have to decline other cases to be available to you. As a result, you will likely be charged a higher fee for the legal work performed. If the agreement states that the advances are not refundable, you may not get your money back, even if the lawyer does not take your case or complete their work.
- Conditional fees .
- This class of fees is commonly used in personal injury , medical malpractice , workers’ compensation, and other cases involving lawsuits for money. This means that you will pay your lawyer a certain percentage of the money you receive if you win the case or settle out of court. If you lose, the attorney receives no fee. However, he will still have to pay court costs and other associated expenses. Depending on the circumstances, these costs can be quite high.
- Statutory fees .
- For certain legal matters, the cost is set by statute or law. This means that the attorney’s fees are fixed or must be approved by the court.
When you reach a fee agreement with your lawyer, remember that:
- All contingency fee agreements must be in writing.
- Other types of settlements must include hourly, fixed or statutory attorney’s fees and other fees and charges that would apply to your case.
- Sometimes it is impossible for the attorney to know exactly how long your case will take. Therefore, he asks that an estimate of the costs and time involved be included in the fee agreement.
Should I ask for the fee agreement in writing?
By law, contingency fee agreements, and non-conditional fee agreements of $1,000 or more, must be in writing. However, it is best if all agreements are in writing.
Some questions to ask the lawyer include:
- How will you charge for your time?
- Who else will work the case? (associate attorneys, paralegals, paralegals)
- How will you be charged for your work?
- What can be done to reduce fees and costs?
What is the best strategy to work with your attorney?
- Make sure that you and your lawyer have the same goals and that your expectations are realistic.
- You should understand and be comfortable with the lawyer’s style of work.
- Have a clear idea of how long your case will take and how often the attorney intends to contact you with updates.
- Provide the lawyer with all the information and documents necessary to properly prepare your case.
- Provide information about anything new in your case, even if you think it doesn’t matter, because it could to your attorney.
Speak to an Experienced Litigation and Appeals Attorney Today
This article is meant to be helpful and informative, but legal matters can be complicated and stressful. A qualified litigation and appellate attorney can address your individual legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a qualified litigation and appellate attorney near you to discuss his or her unique legal situation.