8 Questions to Ask a Lawyer Before Hiring Them

July 26, 2023

Like making any significant decision, choosing a lawyer requires due diligence and thoughtful questioning. According to a report, around 50% of those who sought help from a legal aid office in the U.S. had to tackle their legal issues on their own due to the scarcity of resources.

This calls for hiring a skilled and reliable lawyer to ensure effective legal representation. Making a wise choice in hiring a lawyer saves time and resources and can significantly influence the outcome of your case. This article helps you with critical questions to ask your potential lawyer before hiring them.

What is Your Experience with Similar Cases?

Knowing about a lawyer’s history with cases similar to yours is imperative. A proven track record in a relevant field can greatly bolster your confidence in their abilities. For instance, dealing with personal injury cases requires different skills and knowledge than handling property disputes or intellectual property cases.

In the context of mesothelioma cases, it becomes even more specific. A lawyer with a rich background in handling such cases will be better equipped with the details of laws, medical information, and compensation claims related to asbestos exposure. Let’s take the example of the Simmons Firm, renowned for its proficiency in mesothelioma cases.

Their deep experience has led to a thorough understanding of the complexities involved in such cases, and their strategic approach has resulted in successful settlements for countless clients. Knowing such details about a lawyer’s experience can indeed be a game-changer.

What are the Possible Outcomes of my Case?

Knowing your case’s possible outcomes is integral to effective planning and mental preparation. An adept lawyer should be able to illuminate the various paths your case may take. They should discuss the best-case scenario, where everything aligns in your favor, and candidly lay out the worst-case possibilities.

This conversation equips you to develop a balanced perspective and mentally prepares you for less ideal situations. It’s crucial to understand the legal maze you might be navigating soon. It’s not about painting a gloomy picture but providing a comprehensive outlook, a 360-degree view if you will.

How Will You Communicate with Me?

A successful partnership with your lawyer hinges on clear, frequent, and transparent communication. You’ll want to understand their preferred contact methods through email, phone calls, or face-to-face meetings.

Will they provide regular updates, or will communication be mainly event-driven? Will they be the primary contact, or will you liaise with their assistants? When are they available to discuss your case? What happens if an urgent issue arises outside of business hours?

Knowing these details helps establish mutual expectations and sets the tone for your working relationship. Having a lawyer who communicates in a manner that aligns with your preferences and expectations ensures a smoother journey through the often-complex legal process.

What is Your Fee Structure?

Financial transparency is a cornerstone of a healthy lawyer-client relationship. The lawyer’s fee structure should be an early topic of discussion. Ask if they charge a flat fee, bill by the hour, or operate on a contingency basis, which means they get paid a percentage of your settlement or judgment.

Each model carries different financial implications for you. Some cases might involve additional expenses like court fees or investigation charges. Ask if these costs are included in their fees or billed separately.

An upfront understanding of the total costs can help you budget appropriately and prevent any unexpected financial shocks. Remember, clarity about financial obligations lets you focus on legal matters rather than worrying about hidden charges.

Who Else Will be Working on My Case?

In many law firms, a team approach is used to handle cases. This means your lawyer, paralegals, legal assistants, or other attorneys may have a hand in your case. It’s crucial to know who these individuals are and what their roles will be.

Knowing their qualifications and responsibilities can give you a clearer understanding of the process. Additionally, understanding who will access your personal information is essential for maintaining your privacy and confidence in the firm.

Also, ask about your point of contact for regular updates or inquiries. Will it be your lawyer directly or someone else on the team? Establishing these details at the onset ensures you understand the workflow, promotes trust, and fosters a productive and respectful professional relationship.

What is Your Strategy for My Case? 

Your lawyer’s game plan or strategy for your case provides a glimpse into their tactical approach and critical thinking skills. An effective strategy isn’t one-size-fits-all; it should be custom-tailored to your specific legal issue. When discussing this, your lawyer should consider your goals, the legal landscape, potential challenges, and any unique elements of your case.

They should also explain their rationale behind the strategy, allowing you to grasp their thought process and their plan of action. This conversation boosts your confidence in their abilities and encourages open dialogue about possible modifications down the line.

How Long Do You Expect this Case to Take? 

Although predicting the exact timeline of a case can be challenging, your lawyer should offer a ballpark estimate based on their past experiences and the nature of your case. This approximate timeline can assist you in mentally preparing for the long haul or, alternatively, bracing for a swift resolution.

In addition to helping you set personal expectations, it also aids in your financial planning, as legal processes can often incur costs over time. Inquire about factors that could potentially expedite or delay the proceedings.

Remember, the estimate isn’t set in stone but a general guide. Regular updates on the progression of your case should adjust this timeframe as needed. This knowledge enables you to approach the legal process with a more balanced perspective.

Can You Provide References from Previous Clients?

Checking references is a standard practice in many professional engagements, and hiring a lawyer is no different. Requesting references from previous clients can give you invaluable insights into the attorney’s work style, ethics, and track record. Positive testimonials can reassure you about your choice, while any concerns raised can prompt you to ask more specific questions or reconsider your decision.

You might discover how they handle communication, deadlines, and negotiations or how they’ve navigated challenging situations. While lawyers must adhere to client confidentiality, they might share cases they’ve publicly won or offer anonymized client reviews.

Additionally, researching online reviews or checking their standing with the state bar association can further enlighten you about their professional reputation. It’s important to do your due diligence before entrusting your case to a lawyer.


Choosing a lawyer is a critical decision that can significantly impact your case. You can gauge a lawyer’s competence, ethics, and suitability for your case by asking these vital questions. Transparency in communication, clarity in fee structure, and a well-articulated strategy are markers of a reliable lawyer.

Always do your homework and trust your instincts before making your final decision. Your legal journey, while challenging, can become manageable with the right legal assistance by your side.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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