If you are seeking representation for a legal issue or upcoming court case, finding the right fit when it comes to your attorney is important. If you are new to the legal world and are looking for a lawyer to work with, it is important to take this process seriously and ask a few questions up-front. This can help you determine if the attorney you are meeting with will be able to cover all of your needs. Here are five questions you should always ask a potential attorney right away.
1. Ask About Specialized Areas of Practice
While there are some attorneys that are able to handle a wide range of civil and criminal court cases, your specific situation will determine how specialized of an attorney you might need. If you are going through a contentious divorce that might have some very specific nuances, having an attorney that is well-versed in divorce law will be important. While taking recommendations from friend and family can get you closer to a possible lawyer, sometimes they might not be the best fit for your case. Depending on your case, you might hope to settle outside of court, but ultimately determine to go to trial. This will determine if you are looking for a trial lawyer or a litigator to best represent your case.
2. Ask About Fees and Payment Expectations
While you might feel shy discussing payments upfront with a prospective attorney, they should be transparent and are most likely used to these discussions. You should go in knowing your budget and what your initial thoughts are when it comes to possible payment plan options. Some attorneys might be able to set up more individualized payment plans or opportunities, so don’t be afraid to bring this up. If you need legal representation but might not have the funds to back this up completely today, there might be options you didn’t consider.
3. Discuss the Best Channels for Communication
If you are meeting with an attorney for the first time, it is a good idea to find out what the best method of communication would be moving forward. While there isn’t a right or wrong answer when it comes to meeting in person, phone calls, or even texting, you will be able to get a feel on their responsiveness overall. If your case might move quickly or if there will be lots of moving parts, you and your attorney will want to be able to get in touch with each other easily and often.
4. Find out About Your Attorney’s Professional Support
Having an attorney that will be able to dedicate their time to your case is important, but if they have numerous cases going on, find out what the bandwidth is in their office. Having additional contacts if you cannot get through to your attorney can make offices with expanding workloads even easier to work with. Just because an attorney’s office seems small, this doesn’t mean they don’t have help. While some attorneys might seem like a one-man show, sometimes they might be creative with support from other attorneys, have interns, or part-time assistants they can call in if a big case comes in.
5. Be Upfront and Candid About Your Case
If you are bringing your needs to an attorney, you have the right to ask them their initial thoughts on your case or legal issue. They might have a few quick ideas on settling, working out your case, or going to court. If you know your case is a tough one and a potential attorney is honest about this, this can be a good sign. Look for a lawyer that doesn’t make tall promises or have wildly different ideas from others you have spoken with.
Finding the right attorney is a mix of who you click with and who might professionally be able to best handle your legal issues. If you can come armed with questions when you are getting to know a prospective attorney, you will be able to make a more informed decision. If you are looking for an attorney in the Chattanooga area, contact us to get started on the process and to ensure you are protected every step of the way.