How to Select a Special Needs Attorney: Questions to Ask Your Attorney Before Hiring Them
As a parent of a special needs child, you don’t plan on needing a special needs attorney, yet sometimes certain circumstances just come up. While you may be feeling stress from these issues, one thing that should not stress you out is your special needs attorney. The right attorney will help you and your case while making you feel confident.
When picking the right attorney to deal with your special needs case, there are some vital questions to ask. Not knowing where your attorney stands on some of these issues could mean big and costly problems for you later down the road.
How Much Do You Charge?
When it comes to special education attorneys, some work as a public service attorney, which means that they do not charge anything or charge very little. However, some special education attorneys can also be part of a private practice, and there will be a much higher charge for their work. No matter what type of attorney you hire, know their costs and how they charge for their work up front. You also want to get everything in writing, such as any retainer fees, hourly fees, flat fees, hidden fees, and so on.
There is no need to be shy when asking for this information because you are hiring them just as you would hire a tutor or therapist. Also, do not feel ashamed to tell the attorney that you cannot afford their services and ask if they know of any special education attorneys that work as a public service attorney. Another thing that is important to know is if your attorney will be working alone or with the help of personnel, such as another attorney or paraprofessionals. You want to know if this will add extra costs to your bill.
How Long Will It Take?
Once the special needs attorney knows your case, it is also a good idea to get an idea of how long the case will take. Some attorneys are faster than others to get a dispute or issue resolved. Other attorneys, especially those who are busier, may take longer. The right attorney will be able to answer this confidently, as well as let you know their resolution tactics they plan on taking. Of course, understand that the more complex a case is, the longer it may take to resolve.
While all attorneys may have had similar schooling, not every attorney is right for you and your case. The right special needs attorney for your case is one that you can trust and one that fully understands your case. Look for a special needs attorney that has experience and expertise with similar cases as your own.
Photo by Michigan Municipal League
Resource: Guidelines for Choosing an Attorney for Special Education Representation