Family Law Articles

15 Important Points to Consider When Hiring a Divorce / Family Law Lawyer

Hiring the right lawyer is one of the most important decisions you must make during your Divorce.  You do not want to hire the wrong lawyer, as it is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to change lawyers.  Here are 15 important points to consider before you hire a lawyer:

IMPORTANT POINT #1:  Court.  Does this lawyer regularly appear in the Court where your case will be filed?  A lawyer who is familiar with the Court house and the procedures used by the individual judges has a distinct advantage over the lawyer who does not have this information.

IMPORTANT POINT #2:  Trust.  Choose a lawyer you trust.  Nothing is more important in a lawyer / client relationship than having a lawyer you trust.

IMPORTANT POINT #3:  Authority.  Choose a lawyer who is a respected source of information – one who has dedicated his practice to helping people understand Divorce and family law.

IMPORTANT POINT #4:  Service.  Choose a lawyer who provides excellent service.  Anything less is not acceptable.  Do you feel that the lawyer wants to provide you with the help you need?  Or do you get the impression that he is looking for bigger fish to fry and that you are just a small fish in the ocean?  Has this lawyer helped people like you in the past?  If so, how did things turn out

IMPORTANT POINT #5:  Availability.  Is the lawyer easily accessible by telephone, fax and e-mail?  Does he get back to you promptly?  Can you reach your lawyer after hours if need be?  Some lawyers close their offices at a certain time and are inaccessible until the next morning.

IMPORTANT POINT #6:  Attention.  Does the lawyer have so many clients that he cannot provide you with the personal care and attention you deserve?  Does the lawyer you hire work on your case personally or delegate your case to an associate?  Delegation by experienced lawyers to junior lawyers and law clerks is often appropriate to keep your costs down but when you hire an experienced family law lawyer to work for you, the major decisions and tactics should be made you’re the lawyer you hired.

IMPORTANT POINT #7:  Answers.  Choose a lawyer who welcomes your questions – and structures meetings by allowing enough time to answer your questions.

IMPORTANT POINT #8:  Billing.  Does your lawyer afford you billing options?  For example, most family law lawyers in Ontario bill hourly.  Explore whether the lawyer requires payment up front, or when you settle and on what terms so you can decide which option is right for you.

IMPORTANT POINT #9.  Fees.  Choose a lawyer who charges fair fees.  If the fee is too low, the lawyer may be inexperienced.  If the fee is too high – $600 – $800 per hour – are you paying too much for the Aston Martin when the Lexus or Acura may suffice?  Make sure the value you’re receiving is at least equal to the fee you’re paying.

IMPORTANT POINT #10:  Expertise.  Is Divorce / family law one of the lawyer’s key practice areas?  Or does she spread himself thin by trying to be a “jack of all trades” so that she can provide whatever legal services people need?

IMPORTANT POINT #11:  Compassion.  Does the lawyer actually care about you?  You can easily tell by how you interact with the lawyer.  Does he watch the clock while talking to you?  Does he talk about your problems and seem to understand your concerns?  Or is he more concerned with impressing you about himself?

IMPORTANT POINT #12:  Comfort.  Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer?  Or is his ego so big that it barely fits into the room?

IMPORTANT POINT #13:  Stability.  Choose a lawyer who has been around for a long time – has roots in the community.  This lawyer cares about his reputation and is more likely to be available in the future when you need help.

IMPORTANT POINT #14:  Exclusivity.  Choose a lawyer who limits her law practice to your specific needs.  I limit my practice to family conflict, in the areas or Divorce, Family Law and Estates.  If you don’t choose lawyers who have the in-depth knowledge you need, you aren’t likely to get the result you want.

IMPORTANT POINT #15:  Consultations.  Meet with a lawyer who practices family law. Expert to pay something so you’re not just meeting with a lawyer trying to convince you to hire them and who will give you anything less than objective, considered advice.

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