Frequently Asked Questions
About Hiring a Lawyer
There may be dozens of questions you have for your potential lawyer. While we cannot provide legal advice on a Web site, we can provide answers to some general questions that may help you decide which lawyer is best suited to help you.
What should I look for in selecting a lawyer to represent me?
Before hiring a lawyer, you should spend some time researching the law firm you are considering. Ask for information about the lawyer’s education, training, and experience dealing with cases similar to yours. Ask the lawyer to go over the fee contract with you in detail, and be sure you understand how you will pay the lawyer’s fee and costs. Ask about the possible adverse consequences if your case is lost. Ask if your lawyer intends to handle your case alone, and, if you are told that lawyers from outside law firms will be assisting, find out what the fee arrangements will be.
I have an attorney who handles my family matters. Why do I need another attorney?
Your cases may be against parties who are represented by adjusters and defense lawyers hired by insurance companies. You can expect that your opposition will be represented by an attorney with a great deal of experience. Hiring an attorney experienced in the type of matter you are facing can be important in ensuring you are treated fairly. Likewise, complex estate and elder law matters involve an array of complex and ever-changing laws, rules, and regulations, that require a lawyer familiar with that law and committed to remaining abreast of its changes.
If I telephone for information, what do you need to know about my case?
A great deal of our time is spent gathering information from clients who contact us for the first time. Names and dates are always important and we will often ask a new client to write a chronology of the events that led him/her to seek legal counsel. We will want to hear as much detail as you can provide about your case so that we can make informed decisions about whether to accept your case and, if so, how we should begin prosecuting it. For estate planning and elder law cases, we have an extensive client questionnaire designed to provide us with the information we need to make informed recommendations about your case.
What can I expect from my first appointment with your firm?
At the Morton Law Firm, you will find a courteous and professional staff. Meeting a law firm for the first time can be a distressing experience, and we will do our best to make you comfortable. You will always be greeted with a smiling face, and offered a wide selection of refreshments upon arrival. We encourage you to try one of our fresh gourmet coffees, which many tell us is the best in town. Our staff reserves plenty of time to meet with new clients to discuss potential cases. Having documents at our disposal is beneficial, so we always suggest that new clients bring pertinent paperwork and any questionnaire they may have been provided prior to the appointment.
When do I pay the initial consultation fee?
For those matters that require an initial consultation fee, such as Medicaid Planning, Asset Protection Planning, and Divorce, the consultation fee is collected at the front desk before you are shown back to the conference room. Payment can be made with your preference of cash, check, or credit card.
Will I have to put up any money to get started?
That depends on the type of case. Some matters, such as Personal Injury litigation, are usually handled on a contingency fee basis, and no money will be required. Other cases, such as Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning, are charged at a flat fee, with half of the payment collected prior to beginning work. Other types of cases, such as general litigation, may be billed hourly and require a preliminary retainer. In every instance, the full details of the fee and cost agreement you have with our firm will be explained to you in detail before we begin working on your case.
I have never been involved in a trial. How do you help me prepare?
Statistics prove that most cases get resolved prior to going to trial. Regardless, we prepare every case as if it might ultimately be decided by a jury. We believe in being prepared in the event that an agreement between the parties cannot be reached. By the time a case is ready for trial, our clients will have spent a great deal of time with the lawyers and support staff in our firm. You will know what to expect if and when your case goes to trial.
How do you decide whether to accept a settlement or take my case before a jury?
Deciding when to accept or reject a settlement offer is rarely an easy decision. Our lawyers will advise you of the pros and cons of trying your case versus settling it before trial. We will do our best to help you decide whether a settlement offer is a fair one, but the decision is ultimately yours.