Finding a reputable family law attorney takes work. Like doctors, attorneys specialize in particular areas. The specialty of family law encompasses multiple areas, for example divorce, child support, child custody and visitation, just to name a few. While cases can combine several areas, as in divorce and child custody, they may also be separate. To ensure you meet your legal needs in family law, hire a family law attorney. Here are 10 questions to consider before hiring anyone.
1. How well does the lawyer know family law?
Family lawyers make a serious study of the laws and statutes covering the range of family law situations. Because laws constantly change, they must keep abreast of documents, publications, and settled cases that relate to their practices.
All states require lawyers to complete continuing legal education classes. As a result, they keep informed of current laws, as well as changes and new laws. Through these courses, they may also learn updated strategies for resolving the most complex issues.
Do not discount a lawyer who cannot immediately answer your question. When a lawyer says, “I don’t know, but I will find out for you,” they are trying to protect your best interests. It is better to take the time to research answers for you than steering you in the wrong direction.
2. Does the lawyer work well with others and delegate tasks?
Even the best, multi-talented lawyer understands they cannot to do everything and knows how to delegate. In order to spend more time working with clients, they often leave the research, copying, and other mundane aspects of the caseload to legal assistants and support staff.
When attorneys delegate certain tasks, they ensure that while in court, someone is still in the office to help clients. Choose an attorney who employs an associate, paralegal, administrative assistant, case manager or other support staff. Your attorney will have more time to work with you when you need help. Having employees to complete routine tasks may save you money because of their lower billable rate.
3. Is the lawyer passionate about client needs?
Good lawyers know their competition. As a result, they work efficiently to meet client needs in a legal, ethical, and helpful manner.
Passion develops from dedication and a sense of responsibility to a belief or idea. Seek a lawyer with a passion for the law. Family law is complex; cases are often full of emotion and drama. You need an advocate willing to fight to the finish line.
4. Does the lawyer seem honest and ethical?
Most lawyers are honest and ethical. If a lawyer earns their clients’ trust, they will be in constant demand. An honest lawyer takes your case from start to finish without resorting to unscrupulous methods to win. And an honest lawyer will likely avoid taking a case with poor odds of winning, because it wastes your time and money.
5. Is the lawyer a creative problem solver?
Family law is complicated. Besides knowing the law and having integrity, your lawyer must be able to think creatively. This helps them to develop honest but effective legal strategies, identify potential problems, and reach positive case closure. In addition, it keeps costs manageable for both the lawyer and you. Avoiding potential problems up front means spending less time resolving your case, resulting in less cost to you.
6. How much experience does the lawyer have with your issue?
Like other professions today, the practice of law has become highly specialized. A general practice lawyer might provide the services you need, but do they have adequate experience with your issues?
You hire a medical malpractice attorney for a medical negligence claim. It follows that you choose an experienced family lawyer to help with divorce, child custody or child support case, or other areas of family law. In your initial consultation, ask questions. How many cases they have litigated? Do they have testimonials from previous clients? What’s their record of wins and losses? Make sure you are satisfied with the answers to these and any other questions you ask about their experience.
7. Can the lawyer build rapport with a client?
Building rapport with your lawyer is essential. You will spend a lot of time as you build your case and share lots of information. Find someone who understands that you are not overreacting. Some lawyers can be full of themselves and come across as condescending or rude. Find a good family lawyer with good people skills who will care about you.
8. Does the lawyer communicate with plain language?
Legal jargon is often confusing to the layman. Make sure your attorney will take the time to explain terms and their meaning to you in plain language. Always read any document before you sign and ask them to explain any anything you don’t understand.
9. Is the lawyer available to spend enough time on your case?
If the lawyer has a heavy caseload, make sure they will have enough time to spend on your case. Family law involves many complex issues, many of which are time sensitive. Your lawyer must be able to process all paperwork and filings on your behalf in a timely manner. In addition, they must also have the time to enter any necessary negotiations.
In family law, some issues will require your attorney’s immediate action. For example, in cases of divorce, aggressions such as domestic violence toward you or your children, showing up at your workplace to cause trouble, or even spousal kidnapping of children demand your attorney’s quick action on your behalf.
10. Can you afford the lawyer’s charges?
Most people understand that legal representation comes at a significant cost. Choose an attorney with knowledge and experience. You do not need to hire the most expensive one in your area. A good lawyer creates a strategy that keeps billable hours to a minimum. Many lawyers utilize software allowing their clients to follow their cases without unnecessary phone calls. As a result, you reduce your costs.
Large law firms generally charge more than smaller firms. The same pertains to the area. It may make sense to hire a lawyer close to your home or work. However, by hiring someone a little farther away you may find a lawyer with lower fees. Remember, lawyers charge for everything including:
- Phone calls
- Negotiation with other lawyers
Try to find an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer whose fees are reasonable for your budget. That large firm with the luxurious office may not be your best match. A smaller firm with a comfortable office may be exactly what you need.
Legal Yogi can help you find the right family law attorney.
Choosing a family lawyer need not cause stress or anxiety. Legal-Yogi helps you find the right family law attorney for your specific needs. Our widespread network of professionals extends throughout the country. Simply fill out the contact form on our website or call our 24/7 toll-free number, 800-397-1755, to speak with an expert. They’ll assess your needs and refer you to the most appropriate family law attorneys in your area.