Hiring a Lawyer - Checklist of Questions
When you come to visit for the first time, you are probably not sure what you
should ask, and you might feel as uncomfortable as you would with a blind date.
We understand that, and so we have prepared this list of questions that you will
probably want to ask us (or any other lawyer or law firm that you meet with), in
order to see whether the relationship will work.
Obviously, you will be looking to make sure:
- That we (the lawyers) are actually capable and experienced enough to
handle your case;
- That our fees are affordable and reasonable; and
- That you are comfortable working with us.
We will also want to make sure that we know exactly what you need and what
services you will require initially and in the long run.
The first meeting which you have with one of our lawyers or staff members is
not charged for, as we consider it to be an introductory meeting. However,
you should note that we will not simply provide an hour's worth of free advice
during this meeting. We will probably have more questions about what you
wish to do and how we might help you with this, and so the meeting will be more
of an "exchange of information" , where we can consider whether the relationship
will work or not.
You should also have a look at:
|Have you handled any cases like mine? How many? What was the
|What documentation do you need in order to take my case? |
|Do I need to get this documentation together, or can your law firm get the
documentation for me? |
|Does this documentation need to be authenticated in order to be presented
in Panama? Where do I authenticate it? How do I do this? |
|What are the procedures involved in my case? |
|Can you give me a time schedule for the different steps which might be
|Do I need to be physically present in Panama at any stage during these
proceedings or applications? How long do I need to be present here?
|Do you need me to sign any documentation in order to represent me in this
case? How will you get this documentation to me? How soon? |
|What are the possible outcomes of my case? What are the chances of
being successful? |
|Approximately how long do you think it will take to finalise? |
|What complications can arise in this case? If there are
complications, will this result in additional fees? |
|Will you provide me with a written
letter of engagement?
|How do you charge for this type of service? Will I be charged by the
hour, by the case, by a percentage of what value, or a combination? |
|What rates do you (the lawyer) charge when you are handling my case?
Will any junior lawyers or legal assistants be working on my case? Do
you charge for the legal assistant's time? What about for the time spent
by a legal secretary? |
|What kind of out of pocket expenses or disbursements will there be?
|Do I need to pay these in advance? How far in advance will you let
me know when I need to advance funds? |
|What type of receipt(s) will I get for funds which you disburse?
|What kinds of complications could result in a blow-out of the fees or
out-of-pocket expenses? |
|How often will you bill me? How quickly do I need to pay? |
|What types of payment do you accept? Can I pay with a foreign (i.e.
non-Panamanian) cheque? Can I pay by credit card or traveller's cheques?
|If I have questions about my case, how should I contact you? Phone? Email?
Fax? Messenger? |
|If you are not available when I call, who should I ask to speak with that
may be able to help me? |
|How will you keep me informed about what you are doing? |
|How often will you provide me with updates? |
|Will you send me copies of all correspondence that you receive and send
|Will you charge me for each of the letters or correspondence that you
receive and send out? |
|How soon can I expect you to return my calls? Within an hour? Same