SHOPPING FOR A DIVORCE LAWYER
Shopping for a divorce lawyer? Made the decision to get a divorce and now you need to find a divorce lawyer? Who better to advise you on the process of bagging a good divorce lawyer than a divorce lawyer? Makes complete sense!
Look, the short answer is, find a lawyer you are compatible with. It may not be easy to determine compatibility on the first consultation but you will be able to get a sense of the attorney’s personality after an hour, enough so that you can make an informed decision.
Before you even meet with your attorney, it might be a good idea to do a google or yahoo search to see what your attorney has done in the field, what your attorney has been up to, whether you and the attorney might share common interests, views, politics, whatever. Not that if you are from different political parties you can’t do business. But just get a sense of who your attorney is before you make that hiring decision.
Some clients keep shopping for an attorney even after they have one on retainer. A client is always free to change their lawyer for any reason or for no reason at all. A client is even free to represent themselves in a divorce. But it may not be a good idea to keep shopping for a divorce lawyer all through the divorce proceeding. I have a good friend who did that. She ended up “buying” at least six lawyers in a divorce matter that ended up taking about 2 years to come to a conclusion. The only person who suffered, I think, is my friend. It started to look like not only was she the problem with the other lawyers, but that she was the problem in the marriage. The judge started to make rulings that showed she believed my friend to be the problem in the marriage, the relationship with the string of lawyers, and in the divorce. So in the end her husband made out like a bandit.
What do you personally want in a divorce lawyer? Maybe you value where they went to school? Maybe you are looking for years of experience. Maybe you want one particular gender. Maybe you need a big firm lawyer. Maybe you are looking for someone who is empathetic as well as competent? Maybe you are looking for aggression in your lawyer? Maybe you just need somebody who you feel “gets you.” Or you need somebody who you can call and know you’re calls will be promptly returned. Or maybe you need a lawyer who is not so over-extended with other clients that they can give you extra-individualized attention. Whatever it is you want, you should be able to find it if you take the time look. Just don’t be too picky and pick your way to the wrong lawyer.
Whatever it is you think you need in a lawyer is what you should go for from the start. Because you don’t want to keep changing lawyers. As a lawyer, I am wary of clients who keep changing their divorce lawyer. I tend to decline to take on a client who’s had more than one other lawyer before coming to me. It usually is a sign that this is a problem client and that they are going to be at a minimum a big headache and at a maximum, well, they will be suing you for things you never imagined and it will be a mess.
So try to avoid compulsive divorce attorney shopping.