Finding an attorney to handle a divorce or pressing family issue can be a very stressful experience. It can be very difficult to keep your perspective and empirical judgement intact while trying to find someone who can handle a matter for you that is so intensely personal and may have a lot of your future riding on it. That’s why it’s important to try to separate yourself, at least temporarily from your emotions while you do your research. Here are some quick tips to help you navigate your way through the process:
Take Some Preparatory Notes
Find a quiet moment to think about the questions you have about your situation and write them down. This may seem simple but many people don’t do it, and instead they “wing it” and let their conversation meander, sometimes in the direction of the attorney they are speaking to. Having your questions clearly laid out on a piece of paper will help keep you focused, and ensure that you have the data you need to compare attorneys, because you should speak to at least three.
Again, this sounds simple, but it’s not. People, in general, are not great listeners. But really pay attention to the person you are interviewing (because it is, in fact, a job interview, and you are the boss). Listen to hear how the attorney answers your questions. Listen to the style, listen to the approach, and mostly, listen to how he or she answers your question. If they don’t answer crisply and succinctly, how will they communicate effectively in court? And listen also to see if they listen to you. The attorney should be patient and interested in your perspective. If you have any trouble talking to them on a simple preliminary phone call, how it will feel when you are in the middle of your case and something challenging crops up?
Find Out About Fee Structure
Ensure that you have mechanisms in place to resolve financial issues with your attorney should the costs go beyond what you were expecting. The worst place to be is in a situation where your case is heating up, and you can’t afford to pay your attorney. Attorneys that are not being paid timely will inevitably start to be conflicted about your case, and you may not get their best, since they may be resentful, even if they don’t say it.
Get referrals if at all possible. Try to find out what you can about an attorney’s track record. Many times attorney-client privilege and other protocols and laws that are in place may make this hard, but do what you can to get a sense of your attorney’s success rate. You may have to ask around, but if the attorney has had great victories or great losses, you will begin to find them once you start looking.
A lot of things go into finding a good family lawyer, and this was just meant to be a start. Watch this space for more information about divorce attorneys.