Finding the Right Divorce Attorney
Finding the right divorce attorney can be the difference between success and failure. The single most important aspect of any divorce or family law proceeding is preparation, but crucial to that is having the right attorney on your side from the outset of the proceeding. Trust us, changing attorneys mid-divorce or mid-family law proceeding can be time consuming, stressful on clients, and at times costly (depending on what your prior attorney did or did not do in your matter). Some things to keep in mind in researching and looking for your divorce or family law attorney is the following:
Online Rankings Can be Deceiving:
Remember, those attorneys that come up on the first page of google or other search engines pay for that service. It isn’t based on any qualifying criteria that may make them “better” than the next attorney, but rather how much they’ve paid a company to inundate the search engines with their reviews and accolades to convince you that they are better than the next – do a bit more research and you may find that with all those “positive” reviews, there may be just as many negative ones on other unrelated sites. Instead, let the clients do the talking by reading testimonials from actual clients. You’d be surprised to know that some clients love their attorneys and stand by their work so much so that they would be happy to talk to you about the attorney prior to you retaining him or her (talk about re-assuring).
Be careful what you wish for in seeking out an “aggressive” attorney. You may come to find out (down the line) that the over-aggressive attorney made matters worse by making a working relationship difficult with the other attorney and/or the Courts. What you want is an attorney that gets you in and out of the process as quickly as possible, keeping in mind your goals and wishes and who knows when to be aggressive when needed to pursue your goals and wishes. The most important aspect of any case is the strategy. Nothing should be done without a strategy. Reacting out of emotion (attorney and client alike) will not serve your interests in the long run. Realize that the desired end goals require steps and preparation (and without those elements, the end result may be far from what you expected or were told to expect).
Attorneys that Keep Harping on their “Team of Lawyers”:
Remember, you are paying for every associate that touches, reads, or does any work on your case in addition to the managing partners or senior attorneys (when they talk to each other about your case, when they meet regarding your case, when they do anything on your case). So would you rather have an attorney that knows your case inside out and does all the work on your case himself or an attorney that has various associates and has to become “educated” on your case by a junior associate each time? They may pass it off to you as a “cost-saving” measure to have an associate work on your case, but is it really? Do you want the actual attorney appearing in Court for you to have to come up to speed on your case each time? That’ll cost you money not to mention a lack of personal connection in knowing that the person you’ve trusted with your case and life may not have personal knowledge of your case at ALL TIMES. Really, keep in mind that the “team of lawyers” approach is one that may be intended to persuade you how “great” a firm may be when in the end you’ll be paying for that entire “team” of lawyers.
Attorneys that Promise You the Moon and More:
Absolutely nothing in life is guaranteed. That’s a given. Yes there is the law and yes there are facts that are judged or weighed against the law, but attorneys that promise you or guarantee you anything should always be taken with a grain of salt. This is important as your expectations should always be managed. Every possible or potential outcome should be discussed with you so that you know, at all times, what the potential outcomes are and you and you alone make the decisions that impact your life keeping in mind those potential outcomes. We’ve heard from many a client that said, “well this attorney guaranteed me or promised that I would get this or that.” You should probably take a step back and ask yourself whether the advice you are getting from an attorney that is guaranteeing you or promising you anything is sound advice.
Attorneys that Churn the File:
Be careful of attorneys that treat your case as an annuity and churn your file to charge you. Every step that is taken on your case should be discussed with you in advance of it being taken so you can make the decisions that impact your case and life. We’ve had clients that have had other firms that advertise on the internet previously represent them, paid them thousands upon thousands of dollars and had little to nothing to show for it (little to no discovery, few if no court appearances, no progress on their cases, but bills that go up and up each time). Firms with multiple associates and “teams of lawyers” may have that double edged sword of churning your file and running up the fees and costs (do your homework and make sure that the firm is a right fit and you are getting your money’s worth).