Robert L. Alpert
The hiring of an attorney or law firm to prosecute your claim, or defend you or your corporation in high stakes litigation, is a very important decision that could have major financial consequences for you if you donít carefully consider your options and make informed decisions.
The following questions should always be asked before you sign any retainers or contingency fee agreements, and the answers should be provided to you by the lawyer in writing:
- Who will be handling my case and what are their credentials and experience?
- How many cases involving issues similar to mine have any one or more of the lawyers assigned to my case handled in the last three years?
- Who were the adversaries of your firm in three of the cases listed in 2 above?
- How many wrongful death or serious injury cases have the lawyers referred to in 1 above litigated and tried to a conclusion in the last three years?
- Who were your adversaries in three of the cases listed in 4 above?
- Provide the names, addresses and contact telephone numbers for three client references?
- Will I receive advance notice of any significant motion that is filed with the court in sufficient time for me to comment on it?
- Will I receive written confirmation of any settlement offer that is received immediately upon its receipt by your firm?
- Will I be consulted before any expense is incurred over $1,000, and have an opportunity to discuss this with you?
- What are the fee arrangements between me and your firm?
- Do I have the option of retaining you on a contingency basis or an hourly basis?
- If I choose to retain you on an hourly basis, what are the hourly charges for those personnel listed in 1 above? Will those hourly charges for each individual remain the same throughout the pendency of my case?
- Will I receive monthly statements?
- If I retain your firm on a contingency basis, will I receive monthly statements showing expenses paid out on my behalf?
- Before you hire any expert consultant or witness, will I receive a copy of their resume with notice of their prospective charges and have an opportunity to discuss their retention in my case?
- Who in your firm will conduct background checks on any consultant or expert witnesses that you plan to retain in my case to ensure that their credentials are verified, that they will make positive witnesses in my case and that they have not been discredited in any prior case?
- Do I have the option of receiving a copy of any correspondence that you send to the attorneys for the parties with whom I am in litigation?
- In what jurisdiction do you recommend that I litigate my case (assuming I have an option) and why?
- Will I receive periodic reports of the status of my case? How often?
- Can you attach to this letter a copy of a motion or brief that you have filed recently in another case relating to an issue that might arise in my case?