With many different lawyers to choose from across Alberta, how do you know which will best represent you and your case?
Just as you would shop around for a new car or insurance rates, it’s a good idea to do the same when selecting a lawyer. Referrals from family and friends are great, but you really want to know if that particular lawyer will be a good fit for you and your case.
Google reviews are a great place to start (we are pretty proud of our 5-star rating) followed by checking out a firm’s social media accounts. However, the best way to feel the vibe of a law-firm is to pick up the phone and ask your potential lawyer a few questions.
When you call a law firm, be honest with them. Let them know you are searching for a lawyer and have a few questions to see if their firm is the right fit for you. Here are 3 questions we recommend asking:
Can you tell me about your experience working on a similar type of case and what was the outcome?
This is probably the most crucial question to ask. Having a lawyer who has handled cases similar to yours can often save you time and money while providing you with the best results.
Though lawyers can’t share all the details of a case due to confidentiality, they can describe to you similar situations they have been in and what the outcome was. Don’t take “YES” as an answer. Ask probing questions, such as “did you have to go to trial” or “what were their results.”
Based on my case, what are the likely outcomes?
Although lawyers are not fortune tellers and can’t guarantee a specific outcome, they should be able to give you an honest assessment. Unfortunately, some “bad-apple” lawyers will take on a case knowing the settlement won’t truly benefit the client. By asking a few different lawyer’s opinions, you can get an idea of which are genuinely on your side.
At McGuiness Law, we offer free consultations and assessments. Honesty and transparency are part of our core values. Our team has enough experience to tell you if working with a lawyer is truly a good idea or not. For example, if we believe that our fee will result in you receiving a lower settlement than what the insurance company offers, we will not take on your case.
What are your fees, and how do I pay?
Knowing a lawyer’s fees upfront as well as how your lawyer gets compensated is important.
For example, personal injury lawyers at McGuiness Law are paid on a contingency basis. This means that our lawyers only get compensated if we reach a settlement. That payment never comes out of our client’s pocket. Instead, we are paid by the insurance company at a percentage of what the insurance company owes you. Make sure to ask your potential lawyer what their contingency percentage is.
This is not the case for all claims. Some lawyers will charge for representation, which may be a fixed amount or an hourly rate. Some expenses for a lawyer include big and small ticket items, like photocopying to expert witnesses. Although your lawyer may not be able to give you a precise quote, they should be able to provide you with an approximate amount.
We recommend calling at least 3 different law firms. Some lawyers might not be able to speak with you on the phone right away, so pay attention to their response time. When you talk to a lawyer, be observant of both their answers and how they respond. Were they patient, open and honest? Did they fumble with their answers? Or were they rushing through the response?
This will give you an idea of their knowledge, expertise, and what your experience will be like with that person moving forward. Choosing a lawyer is a big decision, so make sure they feel like the right fit for you!
Our law firm prides itself in being able and willing to help both rural and urban clientele. If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer in Alberta, we encourage you to do your research and ask our team questions. We offer free consultations and will only take on your case if we know it will benefit you.