While choosing a litigator for a lawsuit may not be a decision you want to consider, it may be one of the most important ones. The outcome of a lawsuit can dramatically affect your life and the lives of your loved ones – whether it’s in your favor or not. The importance of choosing the right litigator requires that you do more than just pick one that you have heard about. You may be in litigation for an extended period, so in addition to verifying experience and qualifications, you need to ensure that you and your attorney are compatible and can work well together.
That’s why it’s important that you take the time to ask the right questions and get to know your litigator. You’ll need to ask questions about your attorney’s litigation experience, your case specifically, and the firm’s policies to be able to make an informed decision about who will represent you in court.
The first set of questions you need answered concerns the attorney’s experience. You must ensure they are qualified, seasoned, and successful enough to handle your case. Here are some questions to consider regarding your potential litigator’s experience:
Hiring a litigator who is experienced in cases similar to yours is essential. Look for an attorney who specializes in whatever type of case you have. If you have a case involving an injury caused by someone else, find an experienced personal injury lawyer. If your case concerns wrongful death, ensure the attorney you choose has experience with wrongful death lawsuits. Additionally, you will want to find out things like how long they have been practicing and how many cases like yours they have litigated.
Knowing whether your litigator has succeeded with cases like yours is essential. You want an attorney with a reputation for winning similar cases. Also, ask about the satisfaction other clients have had with the outcomes.
Sometimes, it’s essential to know just how acquainted your attorney is with your case's court staff, judge, and opposing counsel. Jurisdiction can significantly impact the outcome of cases, so it’s a conversation worth having with your attorney.
You also need to ask questions that are specific to your case. The litigator you choose should be able to answer the following questions to your satisfaction:
Every case has strengths and weaknesses, and a good litigator will be able to discuss those with you critically. If you find that the attorney you are interviewing doesn’t address your case’s pros and cons, you may want to continue your search.
How your attorney plans to argue your case directly impacts its outcome. They should be able to provide you with a basic outline of what the strategy will be for your case. If there is more than one potential argument that can be used, then follow up with questions about different approaches and why one might be better than others.
Your attorney cannot tell you what the outcome of your case will be. However, they should be able to discuss the possible results and which is most likely.
You must have realistic expectations about how your case will be handled. Asking about the law firm’s policies on a few things will help with that:
Law firms typically use junior associates and paralegals to work on cases. You need to know who will be assisting with your case and their roles.
Who will contact you with updates and how often those updates are made are also important pieces to know so that you have realistic expectations. You also need to know who you should contact when you have questions – does your attorney have a paralegal that should be asked, or will you talk to them directly? Setting expectations for how the attorney-client relationship will work will ensure that you have regular communication with your legal team.
Depending on the type of case, you could be charged a set amount or an hourly rate. If you are suing for a monetary recovery, it may be on a contingency basis, which means that your attorney gets paid a percentage of the money you receive when you win your case. You need to ask how expenses are handled and what you are responsible for paying. Of course, your attorney won’t be able to tell you the exact amount your case will cost, but they should be able to provide you with a potential figure.
The above list of questions is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you a sense of what you need to know. Don’t be shy about asking more questions or for more details. The attorney you choose should be able to field all of your questions and concerns.
At Ross Feller Casey, we are prepared to answer all of your questions and discuss all aspects of your case. We have attorneys experienced in many different areas of the law and with exceptionally successful track records litigating cases.
If you are looking for a litigator, please contact our office today for a free case evaluation. We are here to fight for you.
Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.