Good questions to ask your lawyer
• What would be the cost? (what is your hourly rate and what do you think the total cost to us will be?)
• Who’s paying the legal fee (is any of the fee pro bono (for free), are other parties helping with paying the fee)?
The lawyer’s experience of this type of work
• Are you familiar/experienced with native title? What is your experience in native title?
• Have you spent much time working with Indigenous groups? What is the extent of your cultural competence? (ask for examples)
• Have you worked for other PBCs? (you might want to talk to those PBCs)
• Have you worked in this region?
• What are the limitations of what you can give advice about?
• Who should we go to for other advice/what other advice should we get?
What kind of commitment can the lawyer give to your PBC?
• How can/will you meet our needs?
• How much time do you have to give us?
• Are you prepared to stay in the community for longer periods? (more than a day at a time)
• Are you going to be with us all the way through to completion?
Questions about our matter (eg the future act notice we want help with)
• How does the future act affect the PBC or our native title rights?
• What rights (procedural) do we have?
• Can the government compulsorily acquire our native title?
• How can we achieve what we want? (your group needs to decide what it wants)
• How can we protect our cultural issues in this process? How much cultural knowledge do we need to give away?
• Can we protect our elders in this process? How can we do this?
• How long do you think this will take? How far might we have to go in fighting this in court? Do you think we will have to appeal?