WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN HIRING AN ATTORNEY
1. Expect and demand forthright advice. If during litigation, an attorney suggests depositions are necessary, ask why. If an attorney can't predict with some level of confidence what the opposing party will testify too in a deposition, ask why. Bottom line - you are paying the bill. Ask questions. As an entrepenuer, you have worked hard to build a succeess business. Ask questions.
2. Expect an attorney to ask you tough questions. If you don't respond with honest answers, an attorney cannot effectively represent you.
3. Listen. Whether its advice from your attorney, a question during a deposition, or words of wisdom from a judge, listen carefully ALWAYS. Folks who make their living in law practice are generally well informed and are often looking for a specific answer. Attorneys will often ask the same question in many difference ways in an attempt to get the answer they need. Never answer a question without CAREFUL consideration. And ONLY answer the question specifically asked. This might seem simple, but a large percentage of business owners IGNORE this suggestion. Remember, if asked if you know what time it is, the only answer is "yes" or "no".
4. Don't be surprised: most cases settle. WHY? Because a jury's decision is anyone's guess. Trials can last weeks with A LOT of documents and testimony. Juries often take days to make a decision. Why? - often because the issues and facts are simply too complicated for many jurors to fully understand. In other situations, its simply a matter of which side
to believe. I had a one day trial in 2012. One juror fell asleep twice during the morning session. Despite the judge's admonishment, he fell asleep again in the afternoon.
5. How much will this cost: Some legal issues can be classified as a commodity i.e. an attorney should be able to get you a solid prediction regarding the cost of drafting a will. On the other hand, litigation is less predictable. That being said, an attorney should be able to quickly identify the legal claims, defenses, witnesses, and documents and should therefore be able to predict the approximate attorney fees to get through "written discovery", depostions, summary judgment, and trial. Yes, it's an APPROXIMATE fee.
6. You get what you pay for: If you are getting a will from the internet for free, dont expect it to hold up during probate. Botttom line: The best things in life might be free, but no one said legal issues were the best thing in life. Do some research and find an attorney who appears to have the experience you are looking for. Sit down face to face and explain what you need. You won't get what you need if you dont ask.
7. The nicer the office, the higher the attorney's hourly rate: Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but generally speaking, attorneys/law firms (like every other business) pass along higher costs in the form of higher hourly rate. Is the attorney on the 30th floor better than the attorney in the sharing space in the suburbs. Only someone who carefully researches that specific issue can make that decision.