One of the most important steps in the legal process is selecting an attorney. When faced with the prospects of a large fine or jail time, your choice could be the difference maker.
For instance, selling alcohol to a minor in Montana could result in a $500 fine and up to six months in jail. For a serious offense like this, it is critical to hire a lawyer with experience fighting allegations like these.
The best way to feel confident in your selection is asking good questions. Read on to learn five questions to ask before you hire a lawyer.
1. Before You Hire a Lawyer, Ask For Credentials
This rule of thumb applies to hiring any professional, especially a lawyer. Each attorney in the firm has a profile that has importance to the client.
Find out where the lawyer assigned to your case went to law school. In addition, learn how many years the attorney has practiced law. Also important is any awards that he or she won, as this is an indication of standing out in the legal field.
2. Does the Lawyer Have Specialized Experience?
Amongst all of an attorney’s credentials, this is the most important element. Before you hire an attorney, it is critical to ensure that he or she has experience with the case at hand.
If you are charged with a DUI, it is ill-advised to hire a lawyer that practices real estate law. Rather, you should place an emphasis on candidates that have litigated a case with similar circumstances.
3. Does the Lawyer Have Courtroom Experience?
This is fairly straightforward, but important to you nonetheless. You do not want to hire an amateur, especially if facing substantial fines or jail time.
Instead, make sure that your prospective attorney has abundant experience in front of a judge and jury.
4. Is Your Prospective Lawyer a Winner?
Obviously, each case is different. However, the lawyer that you decide to hire should have one thing in common: a clear pattern of winning.
Do not be afraid to ask the attorney how successful he or she is. While attending a prestigious law school is important, it pales in comparison to a winning history.
At the end of the day, you need to hire the person that gives you the best chance of reaching a favorable legal outcome.
5. Does the Lawyer Fit Your Budget?
It doesn’t matter how good the lawyer is if they do not fit within your budget. Ask the lawyer detailed questions about rate structure and retainer fees.
Does the lawyer charge hourly or is there a fixed fee for a specific service? Is a retainer fee required and, if so, how far does that generally take the client?
Lastly, ask the law firm for an estimate of all potential charges through the conclusion of services. This way you can ensure that there are no surprises down the road.
Wrapping It Up
Do not be shy to ask a lawyer the tough questions before deciding to hire. It is imperative to choose a winner with great credentials and experience.
For more information on how to hire a lawyer, please contact us for assistance.