In the United States, there is no federal constitutional right to counsel in civil cases. No matter how right you are in the case you are pursuing, without an attorney you may be mistreated in the American legal system.
The court system consists of procedures and rules that must be followed. Failing to follow rules, deadlines and procedures can result in dismissal of your case. This is why you should always take advantage of a free lawyer consultation when you believe you have a potential lawsuit.
There are a number of cases that may be retained on a contingency fee basis. This means you only pay attorney fees if you win your case.
Read on to learn more.
Purpose of Consultation
In the United States, there are more than 40 million lawsuits filed every year. Some of those cases result in excessive sums of money being won in court. Winning a case begins by preparing for that first consultation.
The purpose of the consultation is to allow you to meet the attorney who will be working on your case, learn about the prospects of your case, and determine whether you have a personality that meshes with the attorney’s. This is important as you will be working together on your case for months or years.
The consultation also allows the attorney to review the details of your case and determine its prospects. The attorney will provide you with a legal analysis, possibly the anticipated compensation you may receive, and how long it will likely take to reach a resolution or go to trial.
1. The Right Kind of Attorney
All attorneys are trained in the practice of law, but after completing their education they branch off into specialty areas. When scheduling a consultation make sure you are contacting a firm that handles the type of law you need. Consulting with a divorce lawyer when you are seeking representation for a personal injury wastes everyone’s time.
An excellent way to determine not only if an attorney handles the right kind of law, but also their track record on cases is to check out their testimonial or results page. You want to consider an attorney with a strong success rate.
2. Take Documentation to the Consultation
The attorney needs to see the documentation you have on your case to make an accurate determination on the case potential. This includes accident reports, medical bills, medical records, and if available a lifetime prognosis on your injuries.
Consultations generally run 30-60 minutes, so the better organized these documents are the more productive the consultation will be. Take a few minutes at home to organize your paperwork and if there are piles of bills, run a quick tape so you know the total amount of expenditures thus far.
3. Prepare a List of Questions
It is easy to become nervous or side-tracked by conversation when you are with the lawyer. Write down a list of questions and take it with you. The attorney will appreciate your organization and attention to detail.
Your questions can be anything including how many cases they handle, how long it will take, how many years they have been in practice, and more. No question about your case is irrelevant.
It is also a good idea to check out the FAQ page on the attorney’s website. You may be able to receive answers to some of your questions there, providing you with more time for discussing your case.
4. Understand the Costs
If the attorney you are planning to hire works on an hourly or flat rate, make sure you understand how those fees are billed and what the payment terms are. If you are working on a contingency basis you pay only if and when you win your case.
With a contingency case, there will be a contract you sign at the time you hire the attorney which will detail how payment of contingency fees works. This is done on a percentage basis that is around 33% of the total amount of winnings. There may be additional fees for things such as filing fees or other office expenses.
Be prepared to read your contract thoroughly before you sign and make sure you understand the fee process. If you don’t, ask!
5. Communication Procedures
Find out what the best means of reaching the attorney is. Some prefer email, some a text, and some a phone call. Be aware that if the attorney is in court or a meeting with other clients, they may not be available to respond for minutes, or even hours.
Every contact you have with the attorney is potentially billable. Find out how they handle contacts and what their billing policy is. You should only contact your attorney when necessary and feel comfortable that they are working diligently on your case.
This is also a good time to find out if there is a paralegal or legal assistant you should use as the main contact. These professionals are billed at a lower rate than the attorney and can handle receipt of documents and answer procedural questions. They are not attorneys and can not provide you with legal advice, but they can act as an intermediary between you and the attorney.
Schedule Your Free Lawyer Consultation
We invite you to contact us for a 100% free lawyer consultation. Sweet Lawyer Group has 40 years of experience with a 98% success rate.
Our attorneys have experience in disability, wrongful death, personal injury, and car accidents. We invite you in for a confidential legal consultation. During our meeting, we will review the details of your case and provide you with a recommendation on the best course of action to secure the compensation you deserve.
Because we work on a contingency fee, you will not owe us any money until we win your case. If you do not receive a monetary award you will owe us nothing.
When you schedule a consultation with Sweet Law Group you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain. Call us at (800) 674-7854 today to schedule your consultation.