Thursday, December 1, 2016

Comparison Shopping for Attorneys

When people are considering filing for divorce, they usually start to think about  hiring an attorney. Unless someone knows a family law attorney or has had experience with many attorneys, it may be hard to get started in choosing one. For the people who may feel a little lost, here are some tips on how to find a good lawyer to help you with your case.

You may want to consider the following when researching attorneys:

1. Experience.  You probably want someone who has handled cases similar to yours in the past.  While each case is different, and outcomes may vary from case to case, it does make a difference if the attorney has worked on the same or similar issues in the past.

2.  Chemistry.  This is something that you may or may not feel after talking and meeting with the prospective attorney.   If you are uncomfortable with or dislike the attorney, do yourself (and the attorney) a favor and walk away.  On the other hand, if the attorney listens well to you, speaks in language you understand and appears concerned about you, that might be a good attorney for you.

3.  Information Available.  Does the attorney provide information for you, either in person, on the web site or by sending information to you?  Can you learn about the process you are starting into?  You are probably better off if you have more information available so you can mentally and emotionally prepare for what's ahead.

4.  Location.  In Collaborative cases, location is not too big of an issue.  Usually, I recommend having an attorney in the same county.  There usually is not much reason for the attorney and client to meet frequently at the attorney's office during a case. When a Collaborative case starts up, the professionals and clients usually pick the most convenient place to meet and schedule meetings for that location.  That decision is affected by where all the professionals office and where the parties live and work.  Considering all that, the meeting locations usually can be convenient for all.

5.  Cost.  Unfortunately, no attorney can give a guarantee of the total cost of the process.  You can find out the attorney's hourly rate and retainer amount, as well as get a general idea of what the other professionals will likely need for retainers.  You should remember that experienced attorneys will probably be more efficient than less experienced ones, but there won't be a great deal of difference.  Overall, the differences in cost between attorneys will not be substantial.

There is more information available than ever before about attorneys through the internet and various means of advertising. Still the most important step in hiring an attorney is a face-to-face meeting to check each other out.

One Final Word:   Ask the attorney how many Collaborative cases he or she has has handled through completion.  If they have not done any, there is likely a problem.  If the attorney you are meeting with tries to talk you out of using Collaborative Law, that attorney is probably not a real Collaborative lawyer.  Some lawyers advertise that they do Collaborative Law, but they always talk prospective clients out of using the Collaborative process. If you are interested in a Collaborative divorce, you need to talk to a real Collaborative attorney.