What questions should I ask when hiring an attorney?

Most people have never had to hire an attorney.  When they find themselves in need of a family law attorney, they often are so focused on what is going on in their life at the time that they do not know what they should discuss with an attorney or where to even start with their case.  Knowing there will be big choices and obstacles, those thinking of hiring an attorney should be strategic and find out more about the attorney they may hire.

Contemplate asking the prospective attorney these interview questions:

1.         What important traits do you have as a family law attorney?

It is important to know what values and ideas the potential attorney has in order to get to know what makes him or her “tick”.  Are timeliness, integrity and empathy important to you?  A client may work with a family law attorney for months.  It is important to know the person you may be connected with about the most vital parts of your life.

2.         Who works with you at your office?

A prospective client should know if that attorney has support staff to help with client’s cases in order to know who is on the “team” along with what each person in the office does to help clients.

3.         When can I expect to hear from you about my case?

Consider this important question for two reasons.  First, it helps a prospective client know how that attorney communicates with clients, for example, by phone and email.  Secondly, it also helps that a prospective client gets a feel for the attorney’s point of view to know if the attorney is proactive and discusses issues, questions and problems only before court or well in advance in order to keep that client up to date.

4.         What fees will I have to pay?

Attorneys charge a retainer and an hourly rate.  Knowing these fees up front helps a client assess what work may need to be done.  The attorney should also discuss other potential expenses such as court filing fees and mediation costs.

5.         What are the good and bad points you see with my case?

A forthright attorney is going to need more time to get to know a case before giving a detailed opinion on the pros and cons.  But that same attorney should be able to identify concerning issues or strengths about a case early on in the process.

Schedule a consultation with family law attorney Jessica L. Sterle by calling (218) 722-2655.

Jessica Sterle