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Top 10 Questions For Your Attorney

Serving Baltimore City, and 24 Counties in Maryland

Free Initial Consultation and NO Fees or Costs Unless We Win

The Law Offices of Attorney Marc Atas has demonstrated great success representing individuals and their families in Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Criminal Litigation, Workers Compensation and DUI & Traffic Court.

Our legal team is second to none. We utilize the benefit and advantage of over 35 years of trial experience to fight for you in court.

We devote the same effort, hard work, and preparation in each case, regardless of the magnitude of the matter. We know that every case is very important to the clients involved, as well as their families, and we consider it our obligation to protect those interests.

The Law Office of Marc Atas is dedicated to creating real solutions one client at a time. Our law firm will keep you updated, provide you personal service, promptly return your phone calls, and help protect the best interests of you and your family.

Top 10 Questions For Your Attorney

Let’s be honest: no one likes hiring a lawyer. It is considered by many to be a distasteful necessity of life. Contrary to popular belief, not all lawyers are the same. Asking these questions will help you select the right lawyer and, in the long run, save you a lot of aggravation and grief.

The questions below are from an October 1997 article in the Sacramento Business Journal and were designed to help you select the right lawyer and make your job easier.

What type of experience do you have?

Although it’s nice to tell your friends and neighbors that your lawyer graduated No. 1 in his or her class from Harvard Law School, it will not be comforting when you are in court for the first time and you find out it’s the lawyer’s first time too!

Obviously, it is important that the lawyer has passed the state bar exam and is properly licensed. However, there is no substitute for experience. Ask the lawyer how many similar cases he or she has handled. How long ago? What was the outcome? Get the specific details. If the lawyer doesn’t have experience, what will he or she do to get it? Is the lawyer willing to work with another experienced lawyer and learn? see attached article on how to choose an attorney

What is your specialty?

Some lawyers limit their practice to a certain area, which is becoming more common because of all the rapid changes in laws. Determine if the lawyer specializes in the type of case you have. Furthermore, the state bar certifies lawyers in certain limited areas (i.e. family law, tax, and workers’ compensation). Determine from the lawyer whether a certification for your particular area of interest exists and whether the lawyer is certified.

What will it cost?

One of the most common disputes between lawyers and clients involves fees. The main reason: poor communication. Ask, up front, what it will cost to handle your case.

Get into the specific details. Ask if your first visit is free. Determine whether you will be billed for telephone conversations with the lawyer. Although it may be difficult for an attorney to predict exactly what the fee will be, an experienced lawyer should be able to give you an estimate or range.

Ask about the billing policies. Will you pay an hourly fee, a fixed fee or a contingency fee? Ask about costs (i.e. filing fees, experts, court reporters, etc.), who will pay them and when. Also ask about whether the lawyer charges for copies, faxes, postage and long-distance telephone calls. If so, how much? If your matter will exceed $1,000, the lawyer’s fee agreement must be in writing. Make sure you carefully read the fee agreement before signing.

Fees in a personal injury case.

What references can you provide?

These include references from other lawyers, judges and especially clients. Past or present clients have valuable insight and knowledge about the lawyer and his services. Ask for client references and call them.

What is the policy on returning phone calls?

Lawyers not returning calls on a timely basis is another complaint of disgruntled clients. Ask how quickly you can expect a return telephone call.

How long will my matter take to reach a conclusion?

Ask about the process and how long each stage will take.

Will I be regularly updated?

Another complaint from unhappy clients is that after retaining the lawyer, they never hear from him or her again except when they receive a bill. Ask whether you will receive copies of documents generated or received by the lawyer. Ask whether you will be advised of contacts made by your lawyer.

Who will handle my matter?

If the lawyer works in a firm, determine who will be primarily responsible for your case. It is not unusual or unethical for a senior lawyer to oversee and supervise a junior lawyer handling a case. In fact, if your legal issue involves lengthy research, it may be more economical to have the work done by a junior attorney at a lower billable rate. However, ask so there are no surprises later.

Would handling my case involve a potential conflict with another client?

If a potential conflict exists, you may have to continue looking for another lawyer. If the conflict is not significant, it may be possible to waive the conflict with your full written consent.

Do you have malpractice insurance?

Under rules governing lawyers, the lawyer must advise you in writing whether she or he maintains malpractice insurance.

Consultation: matas@ataslaw.com
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