Picking an Attorney – Part Tre (3)

I worried an attorney would want an obnoxious sum.

I have taken you through the first stages of hiring an Italian attorney to represent me via my two previous posts. Now, I will shed light on what I did to attempt to negotiate a fair rate for myself. The questions posted below are ones that you should consider asking of any attorney you seek to hire. Why do I say that? Because an attorney with many years of experience recommended I ask these questions to the Italian firm. And I promise you, this man knows his stuff.

“Thank you for your letter. I found the information you provided helpful. I do, however, have some additional questions for you regarding the Italian legal system, as well as the hiring of your services.
Please know that I am very interested in retaining your services, but while I have significant interest in the case against my attacker, I do not have a lot of money. Therefore, I have several questions for you about your fee structure:

  1. Can you estimate for me how many hours per month you anticipate billing me given what you know about the case currently? What is normal for a case like this?
  2. Is there a good level of service I can obtain – perhaps with a more junior attorney in your firm – that would reduce the hourly fee?
  3. Are there months that go by where no work is done on the case given how long legal proceedings take in Italy?
  4. Are you willing to work for a flat fee or a monthly retainer, perhaps?
  5. Would it be possible to agree on a specified amount per month and that additional costs would be conditional to my approval?
  6. What are civil damages and are they commonly awarded in cases such as mine?
  7. What is the likelihood of my fees being paid by my attacker should he be found guilty?
  8. Would you consider a contingency arrangement where you receive a percentage of whatever I receive in civil damages?

Please let me know as I am eager to retain your services and continue to progress with my case.
With regards to my case, I have a few questions:

  • If Marco is arrested this week, does that mean he stays in jail until trial? Do you have a bail system in Italy?
  • Can/will his attorney investigate me? Subpoena me, perhaps?
  • Please know I did some research on Marco and his father, and his father is actually well-regarded and connected. My concern is that Marco’s father will “pull some strings” to get the case against his son dismissed. Is that a reasonable fear?”

I eagerly awaited the response. It was December 2008, and it was a big month for me. I was to close on my first home – something I had saved for 10 years to purchase. And I was about to embark on a lengthy legal battle against the man who almost prevented me from ever stepping foot inside it.

QUOTE: “While others may argue about whether the world ends with a bang or a whimper, I just want to make sure mine doesn’t end with a whine.” – TV producer Barbara Gordon ( Women’s Wit and Wisdom; Runner’s Press)

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s