4 Tips for Choosing the Right Lawyer
September 5th, 2017 by Marta J. Papa
You’re going through one of the hardest experiences of your life and you’re making a lot of major decisions. Knowing you’ve got a good lawyer in your corner is imperative, but there are so many attorneys out there it can be hard to know just where to start.
- INTERVIEW I cannot stress this enough. You may feel like the lawyer on the TV ad is the one for you but it’s a good idea to speak with 2-3 prospective divorce attorneys before moving forward with your divorce. Trust your instincts. Chemistry is important. Do you feel like you would work well with this person, that he/she would have your best interests at heart?
- Conflicts Ask your attorney how well they research conflicts of interest. “A conflict of interest arises when the attorney or the firm is involved in multiple interests (financial, personal, etc.), any one of which could possibly interfere with the professional’s or organization’s integrity, or even have the appearance of doing so. This may be the case if your spouse came for a brief consult before you did, or if a business with which you, your spouse, or even a member of your spouse’s family may be involved are – or were – clients of the firm.”
- Bait and Switch “When interviewing, ask the lawyer who will actually be the one managing your case on a day-to-day basis. If you sign on with the senior partner, will that lawyer be the one handling everything on your behalf? You may be surprised to learn that more junior staff will be just as knowledgeable, much more accessible, and definitely more affordable. That said, if you find that your case is going to court, you may want the senior partner to be the one going to the mat for you. Ask to meet with the entire potential team before you sign on the dotted line.”
- It’s Who You Know If your spouse has already retained counsel, ask the attorney you’re considering if they know them. Attorneys that have worked well with each other in the past are much more likely to reach a mutual accord. Even if they don’t get along, if your attorney knows your spouse’s attorney well, he/she will know how they operate and may anticipate things before they happen, leaving you with less surprises from the other side. A seasoned attorney who knows opposing counsel will be sure to have you well prepared for court. “Look for caring and skilled lawyers who have a specialized toolbox filled with everything they would need to build a protective haven to serve you well and to get you through this challenging time.”