Law offices of Gerald L. Kane | A Life Care Planning & Elder Law Firm

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5 Things To Ask Before Hiring A Personal Or Business Lawyer

The attorney you hire for your personal or business-related concerns can make all the difference in how your rights are protected and your concerns are addressed. If you are in need of an attorney’s services, it is understandable that you may feel anxious or overwhelmed about your options.

You don’t have to cross your fingers and hope for the best when you hire an attorney. Consider asking these five questions that you can ask during a legal consultation to learn more about our firm, its billing practices and the type of relationships its attorneys build with our clients.

  1. How do you bill your clients?

It is natural to feel squeamish when talking about money. However, having this conversation now can help you avoid sticker shock in the future. Many attorneys charge a flat fee for a service and others charge by the hour. Budget-minded clients prefer paying a flat fee because they know what they will owe for legal services before they retain the attorney. Clients who retain attorneys at an hourly rate can be caught unaware by fees charged for emails or short phone calls with their attorneys.

If you are given the runaround when you inquire about an attorney’s billing structure, consider taking your business elsewhere.

  1. How responsive are you to client emails and phone calls?

Make no mistake: Successful attorneys are busy attorneys. However, it is reasonable to expect that your attorney will respond to your questions in a timely fashion.

Solo attorneys who do not retain support staff may struggle to stay on top of client communication while handling other tasks. If you are concerned that your attorney will not prioritize your legal problems, inquire about the firm’s support staff and the responsibilities assigned to each legal professional. You can also call the firm and see how long it takes to receive a reply.

Providing high-quality customer service is a balancing act for attorneys. It is unrealistic to expect attorneys to drop everything they are doing to answer questions. However, not responding to messages for weeks is unacceptable. A seasoned attorney is able to strike this balance by leveraging support staff and scheduling appointments to provide in-depth answers to important questions.

  1. Do you proactively communicate with clients? And, if so, how often?

In the past, attorneys relied on clients to contact them first about their legal situations or concerns. Unfortunately, some attorneys still do.

At the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane, our team communicates proactively via newsletters and email because we want our clients to know that their concerns matter. You can contact our office to learn more about recent newsletters we have sent out to clients and other forms of communication we utilize.

  1. Will you provide advice about general legal matters or only legal issues related to your practice area?

In California, estate planning laws, the probate process and business-related legal matters are notoriously complex affairs. When your legacy or your business interests are on the line, it is better to depend on an attorney who focuses on these specific practice areas rather than a general practice attorney.

Attorney Gerry Kane is a certified specialist in estate planning, trust and probate law. Additionally, he has a real estate and financial background, which allows him to represent business owners in the area. As a certified specialist and business law attorney, he provides cutting-edge advice to clients in these fields.

At the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane, we have established professional relationships with area attorneys who do practice in other fields. As a result, we can refer an attorney with confidence when our clients need assistance with a family law issue or other pressing matter.

We have the resources necessary to assist clients with a range of matters or help them find an attorney who is qualified to address their concerns.  

  1. Do you have a plan for transitioning your clients when you retire or pass away?

When a firm closes, clients can be left in limbo, uncertain of the status of their cases or their next steps. Responsible lawyers make plans for this eventuality and are able to share these plans upon request. If you are consulting with an attorney, it is not rude or forward to ask this question. You deserve to know how you can access your legal documents and your files in the future so that you do not lose the work completed on your behalf.

Considering A Consultation With Our Firm?

Feel free to ask these questions and others that you have when you speak with attorney Gerry Kane. You can reach the Law Offices of Gerald L. Kane when you complete our online form or call the Encino office at 818-905-6080.