Choosing or Changing Attorneys

Q:What questions should I ask when choosing an attorney?

A: Don’t be afraid to ask your attorney how experienced he or she is in the area of law of your legal problems. Ask how many years he or she has been practicing, what percentage of his time is devoted to cases like yours, how many trials the attorney has been involved in, etc.. It is important that you feel comfortable with the attorney you choose.

Q: How can I be sure that I have the right attorney for my case?

A: It is important to hire an attorney who has knowledge of and experience in the specific area involved in your case. Ask the attorney questions about his or her experience in the area you need help; if he or she won’t spend time with you to answer your questions, find an attorney who will. If he or she does not appear to know much about your problem area, this is probably not the right attorney for your case.

Q: What is the difference between co-counsel and of-counsel?

A: Both types of attorneys have an “association” with one another’s firms. Attorneys in an of-counsel relationship only refer cases to each other depending upon their areas of expertise. Those in a co-counsel position assist on a more involved basis such as providing personnel in preparation for trial.

Q: What does Ad Litem mean?

A: Ad Litem means “friend of the court” and is used to refer to the person who is appointed by the court to represent a minor or incompetent person’s interest. An attorney Ad Litem, who must be a licensed attorney, is appointed to litigate the matter on behalf of the minor or incompetent person. A Guardian Ad Litem, who is not required to be an attorney, is appointed to look after their best interest but not actively litigate on his or her behalf.

Q: What should I do if I want to change attorneys – and have the Johnson Law Group represent me?

A: Johnson Law Group will not interfere with the attorney-client contractual relationship between you and your current attorney. Johnson Law Group will only be able to discuss your case with you ethically once you first raise the issue of changing attorneys with your present attorney, and then notify him or her in writing that you no longer want him or her to represent you on your case.

Q: Will my case be delayed if I change attorneys?

A: Yes, there inevitably will be delays when changing attorneys. It is not good for your case to change attorneys too many times, since parts or all of your file can be lost. Also, it sends an unfavorable message about your case to the other side.