Hiring an Attorney
When hiring an attorney
it is important to feel comfortable with the attorney you select. Make sure he
or she answers all of your questions and is frank about the fee requirements.
Never hire a new attorney without getting a fee agreement in writing either in
a formal contract or a letter of explanation. It’s also a good idea to ask the attorney directly whether or not you need
an attorney for your particular situation and whether or not there are
alternatives that make sense.
When discussing your problem with an attorney, do not try to categorize the case. Often a case that a person may think is a negligence case is really a contract case or something else entirely. Present the facts of the case to the attorney and let the attorney tell you what kind of case it is and what your options are. Frequently a new client will call an attorney and tell the attorney that they have a case that falls into a particular area. If the attorney does not practice in this area, he may turn the new client away without speaking to him when the client is merely mistaken about the type of case he has.
Tell the lawyer every
fact that is relevant, even if you think that it will hurt your case. An
attorney cannot be expected to give you good advice if you are withholding
important information. Ask for the possible down sides to your case and the
likelihood of their occurrence. It is important that you know the potential
consequences no matter how unlikely. An attorney should give you a range of
possibilities and their likelihood.
Don’t expect simple answers to every question. Some times it will be impossible for an attorney to give you a definite response at all. An attorney should not guarantee results. Be wary of one who does.
Once you hire an
attorney, make sure you keep your lawyer fully informed of any new developments
that are relevant to your case. Don’t forget to keep your lawyer apprised of
any change in your address or telephone numbers.
Make sure that the
attorney keeps you informed of any new developments involving your case.
However, be aware that the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow. It is
common with many types of cases for there not to be any developments for weeks,
and even months. In cases involving litigation that is likely to go to trial,
it is possible for more than a year to pass without any developments.
Remember, your attorney has other clients. Respect his time as that is your attorney’s stock in trade. An attorney does not make a living selling a product, he is compensated for the use of his time. If you are paying your attorney based on an hourly fee, you will be charged for every minute you speak to the attorney, unless your agreement states otherwise.
Even if you are not paying the attorney on an hourly basis, the attorney will not likely be prepared to intelligently discuss your case when you make impromptu calls. If you call to speak to the attorney and the attorney is unable to take the call, make sure you leave a message or send an email that informs the attorney of what you wish to discuss. If you do so, the attorney will be able to review your case and be prepared to answer your questions when you speak to him or her. Sometimes it is best to make periodic appointments to see your attorney rather than making multiple telephone calls.
If you do not live in
Rhode Island, and you need assistance hiring an attorney practicing in your
area, please contact us and we would be happy to assist.