Choosing a lawyer to represent your interests in your divorce is one of the most important decisions you will make in the divorce process. So it’s essential that you choose the lawyer that has a style and approach that resonates with you. I recommend the following tips:
1. Ask for referrals. Ask family, friends and other trusted professionals, like your accountant or financial planner for attorneys they recommend. Make sure you not only get the name of the attorney, but also find out what your referral liked or disliked about the attorney. It will also be helpful to know what results the lawyer achieved for them.
2. Meet with the attorneys who come most highly recommended. You might want to meet with more than one attorney to get a basis for comparison. It might cost you the fees for the consultations but it would pay off in droves if you choose the right attoney. Making the wrong choice can cost you much more money than may be necessary.
3. The attorney should be experienced in matrimonial and family law and preferably concentrates exclusively in this area. Sometimes attorneys practice in several different areas of law, such as criminal, municipal, and real estate, in addition to matrimonial matters. The rules and issues in family law matters, however, are particularly unique and the attorney should be familiar with how to navigate these in your best interests.
4. The attorney seems to value your input and makes it clear that how you feel is important. Ideally, he or she should conduct the consultation in a collaborative manner rather be condescending or patronizing. He or she should appear to be speaking “with” you rather than “at” you. You should feel that you can trust this attorney and feel comfortable with him or her.
5. Be aware of body language. Notice whether the attorney’s arms are crossed, which can signal a closed manner. Also notice whether he or she makes steady eye contact with you. Generally, open and inviting body language and strong eye contact are signs of a good listener.
6. Ask questions to determine the attorney’s approach in the divorce process. Specifically, if his or her approach is to immediately engage in an “attack” on your spouse, fees will generally be higher with minimal gain. In contrast, an attorney who helps you move forward to achieve your goals will likely save you time and money. Therefore, notice whether he or she uses words like “fight” or prefers to file motions rather than engage in settlement opportunities. Also try to elicit whether the attorney appears to be an effective problem solver.
For more information, please feel free to browse my Services pages or call me to schedule a consultation.