15 must-ask questions for an NRI before availing legal services in India

Most of the lawyers have the option of a free or low cost short consultation to give you an idea about your legal dispute and its related aspects. This is good opportunity for you as a client to make an informed decision about choosing a lawyer for your case. Such a discussion will give you a fairly good idea about the lawyer’s expertise, experience, specialized knowledge, fees, track record and probable management of the case.

  1. Since how long has he been practicing law? This is one of the first and the most basic questions to be asked from your lawyer to gauge his experience, knowledge, expertise and the firm’s success rate.
  2. What kind of clients does he mostly represent? We tend to forget taking care of this important little detail. It is essential to consult a lawyer best suited to your case otherwise it could end up being a situation of being at the wrong place. A firm which represents only major business groups won’t be an appropriate option for an individual seeking litigation services.
  3. What kind of property cases he mostly takes up? The answer to this question will give you an idea about the lawyer’s knowledge and experience of dealing with legal issues similar to yours.
  4. Apart from a law degree, does he possess any specialised knowledge/training which could be of help in your case? NRIs’ cases related to property disputes necessitate that the attorney is well versed with specific NRI laws to ensure successful litigation.
  5. How are property cases approached by the firm? What is their principle of winning or representing a case? This needs to be asked for two reasons. First, for an NRI seeking an amicable settlement, an aggressive attorney might not be an appropriate one. Similarly, if you are an NRI caught in a complex property dispute, then an advocate who isn’t afraid to push the envelope will be a suitable pick. Hence, a lawyer’s strategies and approach should match the client’s interest.
  6. How many similar cases have been represented? As a prospective client, you ought to know the firm’s experience of having handled similar cases and their results.
  7. How is your case likely to conclude? It is wise to know about the odds before you plan to avail legal services so that you can make an informed decision.
  8. How many hearings would it take for matters to be settled? You must know whether your case is one which involves complicated litigation and if there are chances for it to take time to reach its conclusion so that you are mentally as well as financially prepared to deal with what lies ahead.
  9. Are there any alternative solutions for this legal problem? You should definitely ask about alternatives, if any, like arbitration or an out-of-court settlement. A reasonable lawyer will let you know if there is other less expensive and time-consuming way to resolve the dispute.
  10. How much will you be charged for the services? How are the services billed? This question will let you decide whether this firm and their services suit your pocket or not. You must also ask about available payment options and the billing criterion.
  11. Will your physical presence in the home country necessary or will the case be handled by the attorney while you are away? Being an NRI, it is not feasible or at times even possible for you to attend every hearing in the court. You should consult a lawyer who can handle your case in your absence. He should be able to seek special request to ask for time to notify you to be present when it can’t be avoided and organize your travel dates.
  12. How will you know the status and the progress made in the case? Communication is fundamental to a lawyer-client relationship. You must ask how frequently you will get notifications from him about your case and through what means. Being an NRI you must ask if you will be updated regularly without asking for it specifically
  13. What about communications? The communication gap is a recurrent issue in NRI litigation, most of the NRIs are clueless about where the case has reached, what is the current status or the possible time till it will get resolved. A lot of litigators are yet to integrate the available technology into their services and their clients suffer as a result of this lag. Since you can’t meet your lawyer in person that often you must ensure your lawyer would keep you updated promptly.
  14. How is his record in times of integrity? A lot of clients have this grievance that they do not completely trust their lawyers and lawyers are prone to colluding with other parties for easy money. You must take assurance from the lawyer that he will keep your best interests at the core of his actions.
  15. Why should choose his firm and no other in town? Since you are the one shelling out money to get out of the dispute you are caught in, you would want it to happen at the earliest with minimum inconvenience or time lag. As a client you have the right to know where your attorney stand compared to others and what sets them apart.