9 Essential Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Law Firm

Accident Lawyers

When hiring a law firm, one misstep can cost your business thousands of dollars. Here are the nine essential questions you should ask before hiring.

Find out if the attorney will handle your case personally or if they will delegate responsibilities to junior associates and paralegals. This will help you determine their level of expertise and experience.

What are your responsibilities?

Vero Beach law firm employs various workers, including lawyers, paralegals, and support staff. Lawyers advise individuals and businesses on legal issues and disputes.

Different lawyers may work on your case depending on the firm’s size. Determining who will work on your matter and how they will be involved is essential. Many attorneys are open to providing limited help, such as coaching clients on preparing or reviewing documents prepared by others.

What is your specialization?

Specialization is a way to focus on one area of study. In college, a student might choose a major and take additional courses related to that subject.

Attorneys typically specialize in specific legal areas. For example, they might specialize in DUI cases or personal injury law.

Ask your attorney what types of cases they are experienced with and if they handle them regularly. Choosing an attorney with experience in your particular case type is essential for success.

How many cases like mine have you handled?

Some attorneys handle their cases personally, while others delegate much work to junior associates or paralegals. It is essential to know who will be working on your case and their level of expertise.

Also, if your case is likely to go to trial, you want an attorney with experience negotiating and obtaining favorable settlements. Ask about the number of cases they have settled and their overall success rate.

What is your fee structure?

The cost of a legal case depends on many factors, including the lawyer’s hourly rate, the type of work, and the complexity of your matter.

Attorneys with specialized education or experience in your area may charge higher rates.

Some attorneys charge a flat fee for predictable tasks in time and complexity. Others require a fee deposit or retainer at the onset of representation. This amount works like a down payment and is drawn against as work is performed.

What is your communication style?

Identifying your work communication style is one thing, but knowing the styles of your team members can help reduce conflicts and create more efficient workflows. For example, an assertive tone can appear aggressive in a text or email without nonverbal cues.

Remember, clients will be more satisfied with your services when they feel heard, cared for, and informed. Asking for client feedback and using plain language are ways to accomplish this.

What is your strategy for my case?

As a small business owner, you’re likely very cost-conscious. This is why it’s essential to ask attorneys upfront about their hourly rate and whether or not they require a retainer.

You’re also going to want to determine their strategy for your case. A reasonable attorney will take the time to review your situation and offer insight into a potential roadmap for success. This may include identifying similarities from past cases that can serve as leverage.

What are your potential outcomes?

Bringing on a talented individual who doesn’t mesh with your firm’s culture can cost thousands upfront and even more when it comes to lost productivity. To avoid this, focus on the candidate’s soft skills and cultural fit during the hiring process.

Ask your potential lawyer about their fee structure and billing practices. This is an important question as it will help you plan your budget and ensure you are not surprised by additional costs.

How do you handle billing and payment in advance/on an ongoing basis?

Providing clients a clear breakdown of the attorney’s billing policy helps them stay informed. It also demonstrates that you’re a curious candidate who cares about their experience.

You should also ask about the type of cases or transactions new associates are typically assigned. It’s common for larger firms to utilize paralegals or legal assistants to manage some aspects of a case, so you must know who your point of contact will be.

What is your problem-solving ability?

The ability to solve problems independently is a desirable skill in any job. Effective problem-solving starts with calm and clear thinking, whether a client complaint, an unfulfilled promise, or an inconvenient delivery.

In answering questions about your problem-solving abilities, using the STAR method of interview response (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to structure your answers is helpful. It will also help to improve your technical knowledge before interviews by watching videos, consulting peers, or learning through a trial period with a new piece of software.