Hiring a lawyer is a big decision and you want to ensure that you choose the right one for your case. To help you make an informed decision, here are 5 important questions you should ask before hiring a lawyer.
Are you a member of the Bar?
This may seem like a trivial question, but it is important to make sure that you are dealing with a member of the professional order of lawyers in good standing. A simple way to find out if the lawyer you are talking to is registered with the Quebec Bar is to consult the online lawyer directory. This simple tool is available to everyone and allows you to find out the year the lawyer was registered, which is sometimes an indication of his or her experience as a lawyer.
What type of law do you practice?
Sometimes your dispute requires specific expertise. Thus, it is wise to find out in advance to ensure that your lawyer has the necessary expertise in the area of law in your case. For example, having a lawyer who is familiar with the rules of whistleblowing in cases of latent defects allows you to have a remedy that respects the standards set by the law. The same is true for traffic ticket disputes and many other areas, such as labor, business, or family law.
So, don’t hesitate to ask the lawyer if he or she has experience in similar mandates and if he or she has the necessary knowledge to guide you properly. If a lawyer tells you that he or she does not specialize in the area you are asking about, he or she is being honest. You should listen to them and turn to a more specialized lawyer. This will maximize your chances of getting good advice and reduce the risk of losing your case.
How do you charge your fees?
A lawyer’s fees can quickly become astronomical. Sometimes, the amount claimed is as high as the lawyer’s fees. This is the case in litigation involving several thousand dollars. Knowing the lawyer’s fees and the method of payment in advance allows you to avoid unpleasant surprises. However, asking for the help of a lawyer to enforce your rights should not break the bank, which is why it is important to make an intelligent and cost-effective choice before choosing a lawyer.
What are my recourses and settlement alternatives?
It is important to be reassured by a legal professional and to ask yourself about your rights. Having your recourse explained is the first step before hiring a lawyer. The lawyer will explain how he or she will be able to guide you through the next steps of your recourse. You can also get an idea of the lawyer’s legal knowledge.
It is also interesting to know the alternatives for settling your case. Indeed, the idea of going directly to court is now a thing of the past. Going to court is demanding and expensive. So if there is a way to avoid it, you should try it. This is why the Quebec legal system is turning more and more to alternative dispute resolution methods such as negotiation, mediation, conciliation, etc. A good lawyer should be able to propose solutions to your case. This way, you can immediately see if the lawyer has the same desire as you to settle your case as efficiently and quickly as possible.
What is your work methodology?
Each lawyer has his working methodology. From the analysis of the file to its treatment, each lawyer sets up an intervention strategy to settle the file. Therefore, ask him/her how he/she intends to take action to support your claim or defense. For example, if he intends to conduct jurisprudential or legislative research. You may also want to ask about the time it will take to process your case. A lawyer who is able to provide a specific timeline is more likely to meet it.
You can also ask how often and in what way the lawyer intends to follow up on your file. Being updated on your file is reassuring. It also ensures that your case is being taken care of. Good communication between a lawyer and his client throughout the case is essential. This allows for a clear understanding of the procedures of your appeal. You will always be supervised by a legal professional who will be able to guide you and follow you throughout the process.
After receiving an answer to your five questions, you must analyze the situation. You need to make sure that the situation is right for you, that you are comfortable with it, and that you feel confident in it. In short, the choice of your lawyer must be based on a relationship of mutual trust.
This way, you can sleep peacefully, knowing that your dispute is being handled by a competent professional. Sound off in the comments section below, and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about hiring a lawyer.