We rarely find ourselves in the office of a litigation lawyer like Jon Bunge for happy reasons. More typically, we need the services of this kind of lawyer because we are bringing a lawsuit against a third party who has broken the law, or because someone else is alleging that we have broken the law. Although these sorts of cases – which can involve property or real estate disputes, constitutional challenges, tort claims, or contract disputes – can sometimes be resolved out of court, more often they are decided by a judge after sometimes lengthy procedures. Being involved in litigation in any circumstance can be a very stressful period in your life, and the outcome can have long-lasting impacts on you, and potentially on your business and family. For that reason, it is very important that you take the time to find the right litigation lawyer to help you resolve your case. Finding the right lawyer is about much more than simply finding someone with experience. If you are looking for a litigation lawyer, here are two things you should make sure to ask before you sign on the dotted line.
What are your fees and how will I be billed?
Experienced lawyers with a strong record of success can be very expensive. While we definitely will expect to be charged for the lawyer’s time, there are many other charges that we may not expect, and you should be sure to ask any potential legal representative how you will be billed. While you may be prepared to pay a particular hourly rate for a top lawyer, you may draw the line at certain other charges. At the very least, you should be sure that you understand what charges are not included in the hourly rate to avoid unpleasant surprises. For example, if you call to speak to your lawyer for a quick update or to pass on information, will you be billed separately for the call? An importantly, does your lawyer charge in increments – commonly 6 minute increments – and round up? This is important to understand because it may impact on how you interact with your lawyer – if you are being billed in a “round up regime” you may decide to “collect” issues for a single 6 minute phone call rather than making 3 2 minute calls and being billed for $18.
Who will I be dealing with on a day-to-day basis?
Unless you have a very high-profile case, the chances are good that the top lawyer you are interviewing will not be involved in every aspect of your case. This is a good thing in that there are many aspects of your case that could effectively be dealt with by a less expensive lawyer, or perhaps even a paralegal. This can be helpful in terms of containing costs. However, you do need to understand how involved your lawyer will be and in what aspects of your case.
If you find yourself in need of a litigation lawyer, be sure that you take the time to find out about these very basic things so that you have a clear sense of what to expect moving forward.