CHOOSING A LAWYER
What Questions to Ask
Eventually you will want to speak with a number of attorneys who might represent you. The most important thing to remember when speaking with a potential lawyer is not to be afraid to ask questions. The best and most qualified lawyers will welcome your questions and they will take it as a sign that you have done your homework. Remember that when you are interviewing an attorney, the attorney is also interviewing you to see if he or she wants to take your case. A good lawyer would rather represent a truly prepared client, a client who is committed to getting the best legal representation available.
Here are a few questions you should ask in order to make an informed choice of who will represent you.
“How many years have you been in practice?”
This will tell you much about the attorney’s potential experience. But, also ask what they have done all those years. J. Wes Billingsley has been admitted to practice law in Oklahoma for over a decade. He is also admitted to practice in Illinois and several federal jurisdictions.
“How much experience do you have representing persons with my type of issue?”
You should leave the attorney’s office confident that you have spoken to someone who has real expertise and experience in area of law you are needing help with. J. Wes Billingsley has represented clients in variety of different legal matters for more than a decade.
“Do you have real experience handling a case like mine?”
You do not want a lawyer who sees your case as a new experience that he or she would like to try. You want someone with the experience necessary to do the job for you. J. Wes Billingsley has represented numerous clients in a variety of matters.
“How many cases have you taken to jury trial?”
Your case might need to go to trial in order to get the outcome you deserve and it is imperative that your attorney have trial experience if it is required. J. Wes Billingsley began his career as a public defender and found himself in trial almost every jury term and since that time he has continued to try numerous cases in various courthouses throughout Oklahoma.
“Who in the office will actually be handling the case and what are their qualifications?”
Most attorneys work with a team. The lawyer that you might be speaking with might not actually be the person who does the bulk of the work. J. Wes Billingsley will remain your primary contact throughout your case and will be by your side in court at all testimonial hearings and trials.
“Have you ever been disciplined by the State Bar?”
You do not want a lawyer with a long disciplinary rap sheet and you deserve to know if your lawyer has been disciplined in the past. J. Wes Billingsley has never been disciplined by either the Oklahoma or Illinois State Bar.
“What are all the potential legal costs, including investigators, experts and the like?”
The lawyer should be honest with you about what your case might cost. You want to be secure that the lawyer is not luring you in with promises of unrealistically low fees and costs. Every case varies which means that costs can very as well, but rest assured that all costs will be disclosed before being spent and you will be asked to give final approval before any costs are incurred.
”What challenges do you see in my case?”
The lawyer should be able to explain to you what he or she sees as the challenges you face and what they could mean for the ultimate result. This is a very fact specific question, but J. Wes Billingsley is prepared to discuss your options in detail during an initial consultation.
“How will you keep me informed about my case?”
You must feel comfortable with the attorney’s commitment to communicate with you. You should know if you would really be kept informed of developments in your case. J. Wes Billingsley firmly believes communication is vital to a client's understanding of their case and he is therefore prepared to communicate with his client in a variety of different ways, including a client case portal via this website.
“What will be the final outcome of my case?”
A good attorney will not promise you a specific result, because it is always impossible to be certain how a case will turn out. Any other answer is dishonest and unethical. A good attorney can only promise to do his or her best job in defending you. J. Wes Billingsley has a no BS policy when it comes to every client's case meaning he won't simply tell a client what they want to hear and he is NOT afraid to tell them what the NEED to hear.
hen you look for a potential attorney, tell him or her everything that you think is relevant, and then some. Something that you dismissed as a minor detail might make all the difference in your case. Most importantly, be honest. You have nothing to fear. Except in rare cases, if you are talking to an attorney face to face, even before he or she has decided to take your case you already enjoy attorney-client privilege. This means that nothing you say could ever be used against you. If you ever have any doubt that your communication with the attorney is “privileged,” you should simply ask.