A good way to determine whether you have a legal problem or need legal assistance is to ask a lawyer. Opportunities for a good resolution may disappear if you wait too long.
How do I prepare for my consultation with the attorney?
When you make your appointment, ask the lawyer some questions, such as:
What papers are they going to need to see?
Do you need to be prepared to pay a retainer, filing fees, etc.?
Should you bring anyone with you?
Is there a guarantee that the lawyers will accept my case?
The simple answer is no. There are several reasons why an attorney may not accept your case. Your case may not meet the legal standard of a meritorious claim, the attorney may have a conflict, or the lawyer may not have sufficient knowledge to handle the problem.
What is the basis for a legal fee?
The most basic ingredient in any fee charged by a lawyer is the amount of time spent on a particular problem. In one important way, a lawyer’s professional services differ from those of a doctor; much of the work is accomplished when the client is not present. Many clients are often unaware that the document and advice given in a few minutes are actually the products of many hours of work. After you have related the facts in your case, your lawyer will give you an estimate of the fee.
How much will this cost me?
Hourly Rate: The lawyer usually computes a fee on an hourly rate. This can range anywhere from $75.00 an hour to more than $300.00 an hour, depending on the circumstances of the case, as well as the experience and expertise of the lawyer. The lawyer’s fee is a result of several factors: time, experience, reputation, results achieved, and operating expense and overhead.
Flat Rate: For certain routine transactions with a predictable time commitment such as residential house closing, or wills, the lawyer may charge a flat rate.
Contingent Fees: "We don’t get paid unless you win.” This is usually a statement you may hear in lawyer advertising and it pertains primarily to injury cases. The attorney will be paid a percentage of the fee won by the client.
Retainer Fee: This is an advance payment to the lawyer for a portion of his or her fee. In many cases, an attorney will ask for this type of fee.
How long will it take to solve my legal problem?
Ask the lawyer how long it has taken him/her to bring cases similar to yours to a conclusion in the past. Ask if your case involves issues more complex than his/her previous cases and whether or not that will affect the expected time to bring this case to a conclusion. Ask if there is anything you can do to speed up the process.