How should I choose a family law attorney? 32 Answers as of July 03, 2013I am about to go through a nasty divorce with my wife. She has already retained an attorney. I originally contemplated maybe doing this on my own but now realize that I can't. She's going to come after me so I want the best possible attorney for the price. How do I find the best attorney? I've already been referred by friends and coworkers but want to conduct further research.
Neville J. Bedford Attorney at Law | Neville J. Bedford
Meet with the attorneys that you have found through your sources and talk to them. It is advisable investigate before you retain an attorney. It sounds like you may be entering a long and protracted case. Just don't wait too long so as to inhibit counsel's ability to assist you.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
Talk to friends to find out whom they used and liked.
Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
Fredric H. Aaron, Attorney at Law, P.C. | Fredric Harlan Aaron
The best way to find an attorney for your divorce is to interview a number of them, narrow down the list, and then pay for a consultation with the two or three you found most impressive. You should include ones referred by friends and coworkers, but not go solely on their recommendation. In addition, you should only retain an attorney who is clear about his/her fees. Finally, do some research on the internet.
Answer Applies to: New York
John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
There are a number of ways to obtain basic information about an attorney, but for a divorce case your best choice is someone you feel comfortable with after initially meeting him/her and discussing your case and that attorney's view of how it should be handled. You can obtain from the attorney all the information about what his education and background is, how long he has practiced family law, and what his general philosophy about divorce cases is. You can only decide whether you can work with the attorney after a personal conversation and you can accomplish that by scheduling an appointment with a couple of attorneys for an initial consultation. Most family attorneys provide that initial consultation on a reduced or no cost basis.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
Hire me! Is that answer simple enough? If you want some free advice on this subject look for an attorney that has a website then read that website, (my websites are at www.planoattorney.net and the second one is at www.planodivorce.net) see what kind of information he or she has put out for the public. See if that attorney answers questions in forums like this one, and if so, review some of the questions and answers. Finally, set a meeting/consult with one or two. I still offer a free consultation, many lawyers have stopped this practice (I am contemplating it) on the premise that a client that is not willing to pay a consult fee (generally less than the standard hourly rate) is just seeking free advice. I see both sides of this coin, I can generally tell early which clients are "pumping me for free information" and which clients are interviewing attorneys. Bottom line, if you are going to engage in a nasty divorce, you need a lawyer that you are comfortable with, whom you trust, and whom you feel will represent you and the only way to determine if a lawyer will fit that bill is to interview him or her. Finally, whether you get a free consultation or pay for the consult, show up prepared. This is an interview process. You are making a hiring decision and you do not have to hire a candidate that does not make the right impression. While a lawyer is a professional, treat the interview the way you would for a nanny for your children or a live-in maid. You want someone who will do the job, you want someone who has the skills to do the job, and you want someone you can trust. If you do not get that, it is better to pay $75-100 to find out than to pay several thousand dollars to hire someone you are uncomfortable with even if the interview was free.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Wallin & Klarich: A Law Corporation | Paul Wallin
You should go to wkfamilylaw.com to read about our law firm. We have been helping people with their family law problems for over 30 years and have an AV Rating with Martindale Hubbell. We will be there when you call.
Answer Applies to: California
Willick Law Group | Marshal S. Willick
Probably the most "established" rating sources are the "peer-reviewed" Martindale-Hubble (Martindale.com or Lawyers.com - look for an "A/V" rating) or the newer upstart, Avvo.com. There is an organization of family law specialists: The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (aaml.org). And Nevada now has certified specialists - see Nevada Bar web page (all AAML Fellows are Specialists, but not the other way around). It is not going to take you long to determine who the actual family law specialists are, and who is good at the job.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Law Office of Roianne H. Conner | Roianne Houlton Conner
I suggest you look for someone who routinely practices in the Court in which the divorce is pending, is a member of the Alabama Family Law Section of the Alabama Bar Association and has been practicing five or more years.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
Hiring a lawyer, especially a family law lawyer, is no easy task, and should be done with great care. There are a lot of quack lawyers who practice family law because there is essentially no barrier to entry into such field. I.e., one needs no special training to open an office and call him/herself a family law lawyer. If they can't find work elsewhere, than many a lawyer simply sets up shop and takes any family law client that walks in the door (who's willing to pay the fee). Referrals from someone who has used a lawyer and can attest to that lawyer's competency, honesty in billing, attentiveness, etc., is the best source to find a good lawyer. Apart from getting referrals as you've already done, I would suggest interviewing several lawyers, asking tough questions. For instance: how much experience the lawyer has with the issues in your case; what the local judges and other lawyers think of that lawyer (although, you may not get an honest answer to that question); how much they charge; how they bill (e.g., how they break down the hourly increments); how much of a deposit (retainer) they want, etc. It's best to ask the hard questions up front, rather than learn down the road (after you've hired someone) that the lawyer is subpar. Here is a good article I wrote about hiring a family law lawyer: http://advice.lovedetour.com/mapicella/hiring-a-divorce-lawyer-and-the-clien ts-bill-of-rights.html You can also look up any lawyers record, including where they went to college and law school, and whether they have been disciplined by the state bar, here: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/MemberSearch/QuickSearch?FreeText=michael%2 0apicella Finally, I've written several other articles about various divorce related issues that should be helpful. You can find them here: http://www.avvo.com/search/guides_authored_by_search/94954-ca-michael-apicel la-50629?professional_id=50629 Best of luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
Friends and coworkers are a good start. You should call the possible lawyers and see if your call is returned. Ask about fees and experience and see if you get a straight answer. Look at ratings sites and see how your lawyer is rated. AVVO is the best rating site that covers most lawyers. That is also worth a check. And check this site as well. There is good information here.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Law Office of Aubrey Srednicki | Aubrey Srednicki
Some helpful tips (this list is by no means exhaustive): 1. Talk to potential attorneys on the phone, or in person to see who you communicate well with. Good communication and trust is key to a good attorney/client relationship. 2. Don't buy into a sales pitch. Make sure that the attorney is honest with you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If an attorney is willing to tell you the bad news as well as the good, that is usually a good sign. 3. What "Style" are you looking for? Some attorneys have a more aggressive style, some a more collabortive style, etc. - Each style can be beneficial depending on a number of factors including, but not limited to: The judge in your case, the style of opposing counsel (ex: two opposing attorneys may collaborate/communicate well together, saving you time, money, and anguish), and the specific issues in the case. 4. Trust your gut. While scholastics and accolades are helpful indicators of a good attorney, the best judge of character will likely be you. Furthermore, don't be afraid to ask each attorney their opinion of the reputation of the other attorneys you are considering. 5. Will they take the time, or are they too busy for you? If the attorney will not spend some time to get to know you and some of the relevant details of your case at the outset, that is not a good sign. I am more than happy to give you a free telephone consultation as part of your investigation process. Please feel free to contact me below.
Answer Applies to: Arizona
Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
Frankly, you've already taken the best first step - get a referral from family, friends, co-workers, etc. The only other suggestion I have is visit the attorneys' web sites, look for someone who concentrates in family law and has a lot of experience. You can also scheduled in person consultations with the lawyers to see if you "click" with them (even if you have to pay a consultation fee, it's worth it). Also, ask about written retainer agreements and how their retainers work.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
You should speak with your attorney face to face before retainer him/her. You have to be comfortable with your attorney just like we have to be comfortable with our clients. If it doesn't feel right, move on. Most attorney, including our firm, offer free confidential consultations. This is not a way to get your questions answered, but it is a way to feel out your potential attorney.
Answer Applies to: Illinois
The Coyle Law Office | T. Andrew Coyle
My recommendation is to set up consultations with several different lawyers and see who you feel most comfortable with. A divorce can be a slow frustrating process and having an attorney you trust and can be open with will help. On the flip side, if you have an attorney you don't like or feel comfortable with, then you will not be happy with the work he does (regardless of the outcome).
Answer Applies to: Illinois
ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
Recommendations from family and friends are usually a very good way to find a good attorney. Depending on the area of law in which you are seeking help, some attorneys hold certifications for practice in a specialty field. For example, in Louisiana "family law" is actually a specialty area of practice due to the complexities and complications of divorce practice. The Louisiana Board of Legal Specialization certifies that a practitioner is a "board certified" specialist after checking his/her references, requiring a given amount of experience in family law and after passing a written exam. There may be a family law specialist in your area.
Answer Applies to: Louisiana
Wolverine Law | Stuart Collis
That question is much more complicated than you think. Hiring an attorney is mostly a personal choice. Often times, the most experienced attorneys are the most expensive. New attorneys may be cheaper but they may not be familiar with how to do the job or the ins and outs of a particular court system. Local attorneys have an advantage in smaller jurisdictions for this reason. They are usually on a first name basis with court clerks and may have other relationships with the members of the bar. Also, you have to ask yourself, what is the "best attorney"? In my opinion, the best attorney is a combination of an individual who will give you realistic solutions and not just bill you for services you may not need. Such an attorney will also explain the process to you. Now, if you want someone that is a complete pit bull and will throw the kitchen sink at your spouse, find someone that is oriented to that sort of litigation but understand that it will be extremely expensive. In other words, find out the attorney's style. The choice of attorney is always yours. As stated before, you should ask about experience, style preferences, how the attorney views the attorney-client relationship and what his/her other experiences have been in similar cases with that judge or in other venues. Ultimately, the choice is yours but if your attorney does not work out, you can always hire another that may match your beliefs and style better at a later date.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
The internet is a wonderful resource to start your attorney search. There are many sites which rate and review lawyers in your area. The key is to choose an attorney that you are comfortable with. Divorce can be a long process and you need to feel like you can speak open and honestly with your attorney. Good luck
Answer Applies to: Florida
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
You should consult with several attorneys and then go with the one that you feel most comfortable with and confident with. If your existing or potential case is in or near the Central Florida area (Orange, Seminole, Volusia, Lake, Sumter, Marion, and nearby counties), I would be more than happy to speak with you. My office offers free initial telephone consultations, during which we can discuss your matter in more detail, as well as explore the potential rights and options available.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
Call around and talk to different attorneys, see who you are comfortable with and who seems to be a good fit for your style. But beware of anyone tells you they will get you everything you want as that rarely happens in WI which is a community property state.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
My personal opinion is that the best way to select a family law attorney is to pick one that you get along with. You can hire the best, most expensive, family law attorney on the planet, but if your personality and the personality of the attorney are not compatible, then, regardless of the outcome of your case, you are probably going to be unhappy. Therefore, I would think that the best approach is to interview several attorneys to see which one you are most comfortable with.
Answer Applies to: Washington
The Davies Law Firm, P.A. | Robert F. Davies, Esq.
Always a difficult question, finding a professional who knows what they are doing. So, no, I am not going to tell you "Hire Me!". Here's what I can suggest: you want an attorney who handles a lot of divorces, who handles a fair number of cases in the courthouse where your divorce will be heard, and who 'fits' with your needs. You must be comfortable that the attorney is the right type of person for you.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Law Offices of Sheryl S. Graf | Sheryl S. Graf
Recommendations from friends and co-workers is an excellent place to find an attorney. You can also look in the yellow pages of your telephone directory for state bar-certified lawyer referral services in your area. And of course you can check the yellow pages and the internet for a specific lawyer who may be able to help. Ultimately, you need to chose an attorney who you are comfortable with and have confidence in. That attorney should have the experience and skill necessary to handle your case at reasonable rates.
Answer Applies to: California
Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
I think the best thing to do is to speak with several attorneys to get a sense of who you feel comfortable working with based on their experience, personality/demeanor and understanding of your objectives. It may also help to work with an attorney who has some familiarity with the other party's attorney, since that can sometimes help (or hinder) a case.
Answer Applies to: Arizona