Sources for Divorce Lawyers
It’s time to find some attorneys for you to consider. I’ll suggest various sources for recommendations. This method for finding an attorney is offered merely so you know that it’s available if you need it. This isn’t a research project: when you find the right attorney, sign up and get down to business.
Only you can choose your attorney. It can’t be any other way. You’ll have to decide how comfortable you feel with the attorney. Only you can judge how well you communicate. Rate the degree to which he or she supports your goals and how genuinely interested the attorney is in you and your case. Using your list of questions and traits, you’ll pick a winner.
If your friends who have recently divorced haven’t already told you about their attorney, ask them. Most of my referrals have been from former clients. Ask also about the opposing attorney. Use your Attorney Checklist, take notes and pay special attention to any attorney highly recommended by their former client. Complaints about attorneys are the rule, whether or not justified.
Talk to the non-attorney professionals in your life. Your doctor may be able to suggest several names or, you may be able to get the name of the doctor’s attorney who you can talk with to get several names. Ask the psychologist or other mental health professional that you have seen for the names of several attorneys they would recommend based on their experience in working with them in divorce proceedings.
Call your accountant or tax preparer to get more names. Your dentist may have some suggestions. My client Frank was in the process of remodeling his home and found me when the contractor, who I had represented, mentioned my name when he said he was looking for an attorney.
If you know any attorneys, consider contacting them. They will naturally try to keep the business, and are likely to reply that they or someone in their firm can handle your case. Check them out, maybe they’re good! Whether or not you meet with them, ask for the names of several other qualified attorneys because you would like to check around before you make your decision.
If you know someone who works in court, ask about good divorce attorneys. Court clerks, bailiffs and court reporters see them all. Don’t limit your calls to only those reporters who work in the court. Courtroom proceedings are just the tip of the litigation iceberg; the reporters who record the out-of-court deposition proceedings see what goes on in the trenches.
Call the local bar association. They’re not likely to give you a direct referral to a single attorney, but they may give you the names of several attorneys recognized in the legal community. The bar association may sponsor a lawyer referral service. These services consist of a panel of attorneys who vow they are competent in divorce work, and are looking for more work. For a reduced fee, you can have a short meeting with an attorney who might be the right one for you.
The yellow pages also list attorneys by fields of practice, such as Divorce. The attorney chooses this listing, which is not anyone’s judgment of his or her qualification. Look for attorneys who are certified specialists in family law. These attorneys will be competent, by definition. Each has met minimal standards of experience, continuing education and periodic testing. Check to see which of the names you’ve been given are certified specialists in family law; note that on your list, because you know they’ll be good.
Call the clerk of your local court to find out when and where short divorce hearings are conducted. If you can invest the time away from work, you’ll see both the nitty-gritty of temporary support requests and other issues that take an hour or less to resolve, and some of the attorneys in action.
By now you should have names from several sources. What names keep coming up? Bingo! These are the attorneys you’re going to want to invest more of your time in.