Questions to Ask an Attorney
What to Ask Attorney Candidates
The Law Offices of David W. Holub, P.C. concentrates in helping people who are injured (in accidents, or as a result of a defective product, or poor medical care) by suing in court to recover what has been taken from them. The majority of the type of legal help we provide falls under the headings of personal injury and wrongful death litigation. Few lawyers concentrate in this area of the law, and fewer still are prepared to take a case to trial. Consequently, once you assess whether your attorney candidate is someone in whom you can trust, you need to drill down a bit and compare qualifications. The questions below are designed to help you do just that.
Important Questions on Qualifications You Should Ask When Choosing an Attorney
When you choose a personal injury attorney, examine the attorney’s qualifications, legal experience, and find out how they do business. Not all lawyers are the same. You need to make an informed decision.
1. Do you hold Board Certification in Civil Trial Advocacy?
David Holub has been Board Certified since 1996.
The National Board of Legal Specialty Certification (NBLSC) is an American Bar Association (ABA) accredited organization providing Board Certification for lawyers. These are some of the factors that are required to obtain board certification in Civil Trial Advocacy:
“Within the applicant’s career, the applicant must make a satisfactory showing of substantial involvement relevant to the particular specialty certification by personal participation in at least forty-five days of trial (a day of trial is not less than six hours) during which the applicant examined or cross-examined witnesses, delivered an opening statement or closing argument or conducted a voir dire jury examination. During the forty-five or more trial days the applicant must personally have:
1. served as lead counsel in at least five jury cases;
2. substantially participated in at least five jury cases which have proceeded to verdict;
3. conducted direct examination of at least twenty-five lay witnesses;
4. conducted cross-examination of at least twenty-five lay witnesses;
5. conducted direct examination of at least fifteen expert witnesses;
6. conducted cross-examination of at least fifteen expert witnesses;
7. presented at least eight opening statements;
8. presented at least four closing arguments;
9. conducted at least five voir dire jury examinations … .”
“Within the applicant’s career, the applicant shall also have actively participated in one hundred (100) additional contested matters involving the taking of testimony (cases included in your substantial involvement may not be included as part of your contested matters). This may include trials (jury or non-jury); evidentiary hearings or depositions; and motions heard before or after trial. In criminal advocacy, it may include juvenile delinquency hearings. In civil advocacy, it may include arbitration hearings, welfare hearings, and workers compensation matters not tried to a court.”
“Within the applicant’s substantial involvement and contested matters, one of the following four conditions must be met three years prior to application:
1. substantial trial involvement in ten days of trial with personal participation … ,
2. active personal participation in 24 litigated matters, either directly handled to conclusion as lead counsel or in a supervisory capacity to lead counsel, or
3. participation in 36 performances (evidentiary hearings or depositions which either oral argument was made or testimony was taken, or motions heard before or after trial), or
4. a combination of trial days, participation in litigated matters or performances which demonstrates substantial involvement in the specialty … .
2. Do you concentrate your practice in representing plaintiffs in personal injury and wrongful death claims?
Law Offices of David W. Holub represents only plaintiffs in injury claims and in plaintiff claims against insurance companies.
No lawyer can develop an expertise in every area of the law. Our firm is not engaged in the broad “general practice” of law. We do not handle divorce, tax disputes, criminal defense, or bankruptcy cases. We limit our practice to personal injury and wrongful death law, and associated plaintiff claims, such as plaintiffs fighting against insurance companies to collect insurance when property is damaged in a flood or fire, or fighting to collect life or disability insurance. We concentrate our efforts on behalf of plaintiffs. We have not and never will represent an insurance company.
3. How many years of experience do you have?
David Holub has over 30 years of experience.
4. Do you have jury trial experience?
David Holub has extensive jury trial experience.
As you can see from the requirements for Board Certification above, jury trial experience is a major requirement to certification. David Holub first acquired certification in 1996, and continues to try many jury trials each year both large and small. The Indiana Rules for Professional Conduct do not permit internet publication of the number or size of jury verdicts; however, we would be happy to meet with you at no charge to discuss our jury trial experience and verdicts.
5. Do you work on a contingent fee?
Yes we do.
On nearly all cases we will charge a percentage of your total recovery. Typically this percentage is 33-1/3%. This percentage is fixed at the beginning of our representation and does not change.
6. Do you make house calls and hospital visits?
Yes we do.
We realize that many of our clients have suffered the loss of their car in an accident, or require hospitalization. For your convenience, we will travel to meet with our clients at home or at the hospital and we will do so free of charge.
7. Do you use professional investigators and accident reconstruction experts?
Yes we do.
Our firm utilizes investigators trained and experienced in auto accident investigation and reconstruction. When needed, we also do not hesitate to call in other industry experts to help us prepare your case.
8. Does your firm have a legal malpractice insurance coverage?
Yes we do.
We believe that all attorneys should carry legal malpractice insurance, but many do not. We carry legal malpractice insurance and suggest that you ask any lawyer you are considering to hire if they have insurance, and ask if they ever were found to have committed legal malpractice.
9. Do you advance litigation expenses for your client?
Yes we do.
In preparing a case for trial certain expenses separate from attorney fees must be incurred to obtain medical records and reports, and obtain exhibits and evidence for trial. A financially sound law firm should not hesitate to advance these expenses for clients who have solid cases until the case is decided at trial or settled.