Hiring A Litigation Lawyer: A 7 Step Process
If you’re facing a litigation issue, choosing a leading litigation lawyer puts you one step closer to a positive outcome. How do you select the right law firm in Singapore for your case, though? How do you know that the firm you’re considering is the best for you, and not a criminal lawyer in Singapore instead?
Has the Firm Handled Similar Legal Cases to Yours?
If your litigation is business-based, you’ll want skilled corporate lawyers or a boutique corporate law firm. If you’re going to sue your ex, you’ll want to move away from commercial law firms and look for someone skilled in personal law.
How Strong Is the Law Firm’s Support Team?
The lawyer is only as strong as their support team. What happens in the courtroom or boardroom is only a small part of the work that goes into every case. The amount of research that needs to be done in a complicated matter is staggering.
You want a strong support team so that every aspect of your case gets the full attention it deserves. Even the best lawyer in the world won’t get great results if they don’t have all the right facts.
Which Lawyer in The Firm Will Be Handling Your Case? (Partner, Associate, Legal Intern?)
Some matters are easily handled by a legal intern. Others are more complex and require a more experienced hand. You need to find out exactly who is going to be working on your case and ensure that they have the requisite skills.
It’s good practice here to be wary of firms that tell you that the senior partner handles every small matter. This is neither cost-effective for the client nor does it make good business sense. That should be a red flag and should make you wonder how desperate the firm is for business.
You should also not be paying the same rates for the services that the intern performs as you would for the senior partner. It’s good practice to ask how underlings are supervised. You might not need that senior partner to work on your case, but is someone checking on the intern?
The consequences of interns being left completely unsupervised could be severe. They might make mistakes, forget to process something important, and so on. Just as an example of what could go wrong, we’ll share a case that we were told about.
The case was a simple estate that needed to be wound up. A reasonably prestigious firm was handling the matter. It wasn’t a vast estate and wasn’t overly complicated, so the issue was turned over to an intern. The entire case should have been completed in eight months or so.
Four years later, the matter was still not resolved. There was an issue about the registration of vehicles in the estate. The sole beneficiary had been in regular contact with the intern to check the progress and was assured that they were waiting for processing of the forms.
A year after that, the beneficiary demanded that the estate be handed over to another firm. On receipt of the files, it was clear that the intern had lied to the beneficiary. Not only had the registration papers not been filed, but they had not even been completed.
Had someone at the original firm checked on the progress of the estate, this would have been picked up and resolved quickly. As it was, a case that should have taken eight months to resolve lasted more than five years.
Check the Individual Lawyer’s Experience in Handling Similar Litigation Cases
Find out who you will be working with. Who is going to be your lawyer? What experience do they have when it comes to cases like yours? For the best results, choose someone who has a well-established track record for your type of case.
You might end up paying more for an experienced lawyer, but it’s well worth it. Someone who is better trained will be able to give you a realistic idea of the results that can be achieved. They’re also bound to be more efficient, and that will save you money in the long run.
Confirm If the Legal Fees Are Paid on A Retainer or Hourly Basis
Lawyers have developed a somewhat chequered reputation when it comes to fees. We’ve all heard the horror stories. In one case that we heard, a client called the firm. The call was a couple of minutes long as the lawyer had to check something before answering.
When the client received the bill, they were billed not only for the return call but also for the call that they made initially. They ended up paying ridiculously high legal bills because they had not asked how the fees worked up front.
Find out whether you’ll be charged a retainer, or on an hourly basis. A retainer will often work out to be more cost-effective as you’re paying a flat fee for a certain amount of work. With a retainer, you’ll know what you’re paying upfront.
An hourly option might be better if you need occasional advice. In either event, find out exactly what that fee will cover. You need to know what you’ll be charged for before you sign up.
Search Legal Publications for Reviews of The Law Firm
Online reviews of firms should be your first stop when it comes to checking out a firm. Don’t stop there, though. While reviews online can give you a basic idea, it pays to remember that there are ways to cheat the system.
While firms might not buy reviews, they can choose to ask satisfied clients to leave reviews on their behalf. Legal publications are bound to offer a more objective review. So, do check these as well.
Does the Lawyer Assure You of a Positive Outcome?
You do want a lawyer that is confident, but be wary of those who assure you of a positive result in matters that need to be decided. A good lawyer will give their honest opinion of the merits of your case, not tell you what you want to hear.