It’s one of the worst things you can ever find yourself facing in any kind of business. A lawsuit has the potential to rock everything you do right to the core and leave you with a mess that takes years to clean up. That’s assuming of course that it doesn’t turn out to be the kind of legal headache that cripples your business once and for all, which sadly can happen.
But here’s the thing, in the vast majority of cases where litigation rears its ugly head, it will be none other than your choice of litigation attorney that determines the outcome. The facts are there and your case is one that deserves arguing, which in turn means it will be the actions and behaviors of your litigation attorney that will send the whole escapade one way or the other.
Needless to say, the decision making process in terms of choosing the right litigation attorney isn’t one that can be approached lightly. Chances are you won’t have the luxury of all the time in the world to play with, but at the same time there’s really nothing to gain from rushing in when it’s the very future of your business that’s on the line.
The questions you ask your potential litigation attorney prior to taking them on should tell you all you need to know about who they are, what they do and what it is they can offer you. So when the time comes to arrange that all important first consultation, the following questions must be asked before even considering any kind of partnership.
Do You Have Experience In This Precise Field?
Basically what you are asking here is whether or not the attorney has specific experience in the exact field this particular lawsuit concerns. If you’re working in construction it’ll help if they know the industry well, just as something like an unfair dismissal suit would be best handled by an experienced litigation attorney. If it looks like this is their first time heading into this particular field, you might want to think twice.
What’s Your Track Record Like?
This is an area in which you really cannot overstate its importance. It’s all well and good for any litigation attorney to tell you they’re the best in the business and generally talk themselves up, but it’s something else entirely for them to prove what they’ve accomplished in the past. Of course there will be limits to what they can show you for pure confidentiality reasons, but at the same time there’s no reason they can’t show you feedback and case studies to prove their worth.
Will It Be Possible to Avoid a Trial?
The answer to this question of course depends on the matter and its severity, but at the same time must be asked outright. The reason being that you are looking for a litigation attorney that will do literally anything necessary to make sure the matter is settled out of court and as quickly as possible. The longer a case goes on, the more it will cost and if it does go to trial, the financial and reputational damage could be even more severe. So really, this is a question wherein you’re testing whether or not they’re committed to ensuring the best possible outcome for you and your business.
What’s Strong and Weak About my Case?
This is a question that’s important to ask as it will give your prospective litigation attorney a chance to pinpoint a few of the biggest ups and downs of the case as a whole in plain English. It’s all about getting a good idea of what’s working in your favor, along with what has a very real shot of shooting you in the foot. And if they’re a genuinely good litigation attorney, they won’t be afraid to be honest even if it means delivering some pretty worrying news.
Who Will be Handling My Case?
When consulting on the matter for the first time, ask who you will be dealing with and make sure you are happy with the answer.
How Will Decisions be Reached?
There will be a ton of decisions to make along the way and each and every one of them will have an impact on the outcome. Some will of course be minor and others more significant, but in any and all cases you need to make sure that no important decisions are made without your consent and knowledge.
What Will I have to Do?
If this is your first time going into such a case, you’d be well advised to ask exactly what it is you’ll be expected to do throughout the case. The reason being is that there are some litigation attorneys who make assumptions that their clients know what’s going on, while others are more inclined to help out every step of the way.
How Long Is It Likely to Take?
Of course they will not be able to give you a pinpointed date or time by which the case will be closed, but they should at least be able to advise on an approximate duration for it all. And they should also be more than willing to estimate all costs from an early stage, as opposed to keeping you guessing.
Please Explain Your Fee Structure
A good litigation attorney will be more than happy to explain every bit of their pricing structure and go into detail as far as every last charge is concerned. You should never feel as though anything is being kept hidden from you for any reason.
Is There Anything Else I Should Ask?
Last up, ask the litigation attorney very openly whether there’s anything else you really should be asking or need to know prior to agreeing to their help.