How do family law litigants pick the right divorce attorney for their case?
Many clients interview several divorce lawyers before selecting one to represent them in their divorce, paternity or child custody and visitation case. This San Diego divorce blog article provides real and practical information for picking the right attorney for your case.
Does this Divorce Lawyer Have Experience?
The first question soon-to-be-divorcees should ask an attorney they interview to possibly represent them in their case is what experience the attorney has. There are over 220,000 attorneys in California. Only a very small handful of these attorneys practice family law (divorce law) exclusively. Your attorney should have significant experience in litigating and settling divorce cases – you need to have someone on your side that has “been there before”, knows what the judge or commissioner wants to see in your pleadings, and has a solid track record for finishing cases in a timely manner at a reasonable cost. Generally, newer attorneys offer lower hourly rates but do not have much experience. Seasoned attorneys with decades of experience may have significantly higher hourly rates than most family law divorce lawyers. The trick is to find a happy medium, where the attorney has significant proven results, years of experience, but also offers reasonable rates.
To ensure that an attorney has the experience, ask whether they are a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS), which means that the State Bar of California has actually that attorney as a family law expert. There are less than 300 Certified Family Law Specialists throughout all of Orange County and San Diego County, combined.
Does an Attorney’s Office Location Matter?
Yes. When you select your attorney, select an attorney whose office is either near your current residence or better yet, near the courthouse where your case will be heard. Having an attorney that practices in an area near your home will reduce your travel time to visit with your attorney; however, keep in mind that technological advances have made communication with your lawyer very easy and many times an office visit is unnecessary. Our firm often uses electronic or facsimile transmissions to obtain signatures, review documents, and so forth.
Will this Attorney be Available if I Need to Speak to them Immediately?
One of the most frequent complaints we hear from clients who hire our firm after they have fired their previous lawyer is that the lawyer was never available to speak with them, never answered emails, and so on. As a client paying for legal services, you should be able to speak with or email with your attorney as you see fit. Keep in mind that the good family law firms have experienced paralegals that handle many of the recurring issues that most clients encounter, which reduces the overall costs of services because paralegal billing rates are less than attorney billing rates. However, your attorney should be accessible if you need them.
How do I Know Which Divorce Attorneys are the Best?
Selecting the best divorce lawyer for your case is a subjective process. Select an attorney that you communicate well with, explains your options to you in a language you can understand, is accessible, has a friendly but experienced staff, and has a proven successful track record. Every case is different, so be careful about comparing your case with one of your friends or relatives. However, getting referral suggestions from friends and family can be a good idea. Many times, just visiting a divorce lawyer’s office indicates how successful they are.
Contact our Experienced San Diego – La Jolla Divorce Lawyers
Our law firm prides itself on providing cost effective and results-driven representation to all of our clients. Our partners are Certified Family Law Specialists and our team of associate attorneys and staff are friendly and experienced. We offer a private initial consultation, so please email or call us today.
Orange County Office: (714) 667-0045
San Diego Office: (619) 284-4113