While choosing a litigator for a lawsuit may not be a decision that you want to have to consider, it may be one of the most important ones you make. The outcome of a lawsuit can have a dramatic effect on 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 of time, so in addition to verifying experience and qualifications, you need to make sure that you and your attorney are compatible and that you 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 concern the attorney’s experience. You have to make sure that he or she is qualified, seasoned, and successful enough to handle your case. Here are some questions to consider regarding your potential litigator’s experience:
Have You Litigated Cases Like Mine?
Hiring a litigator who is experienced in cases similar to yours is essential. Look for attorney who specialize 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 is regarding a wrongful death, make sure 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.
What Were the Outcomes of Those Cases?
It is important to know whether or not your litigator has been successful with cases like yours. You want an attorney who has a reputation for winning cases similar to yours. Also ask about the level of satisfaction other clients have had with the outcomes.
Are You Familiar with the Jurisdiction?
In some cases, it’s important to know just how acquainted your attorney is with the court staff, judge, and opposing counsel that will be involved with your case. Jurisdiction can have a significant impact on the outcome of cases, so it’s a conversation worth having with your attorney.
About My Case
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:
What Are the Strengths and Weaknesses of My Case?
Every case has strengths and weaknesses, and a good litigator will be able to critically discuss those with you. 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.
What Will Be Your Litigation Strategy?
How your attorney plans to argue your case has a direct impact on its outcome. He or she 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.
What Are the Likely Outcomes of My Case?
Your attorney cannot tell you what the outcome of your case will be. However, he or she should be able to discuss the possible outcomes, and which one is the most likely.
It’s important that you 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:
Who Will Be Working on My Case?
Law firms typically use junior associates and paralegals to work on cases. You need to know who will be assisting with your case and what their roles are.
How Will We Communicate?
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 him or her directly? Setting expectations for how the attorney-client relationship will work will ensure that you have regular communication with your legal team.
What Will I Be Charged for?
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 he or she 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.
Let Us Litigate Your Lawsuit
At Ross Feller Casey, we are prepared to answer all of your questions, and discuss all aspects of your case. We have attorneys who are experienced in many different areas of the law, and who have 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.