Every month I will have at least one consultation with a potential client who is thinking about changing their attorney. The person will be in the middle of their divorce or Family Court case and will be unhappy for many different reasons. I will provide a free consultation and based upon what I am told provide an honest assessment of the case as well as advice as to whether a change in attorney will be helpful.
The reasons can be many but usually are a combination of the following:
1. Loss of confidence – the case is not going well.
2. Poor communication – the attorney does not return phone calls or respond to email and letters.
3. Inability to make appointments and see the attorney.
4. Lack of expertise – the attorney does not concentrate on matrimonial matters and often does not know the correct answer.
5. The opposing attorney seems to be more adept in the courtroom.
7. The attorney cannot remember the facts of the case and does not address the client's concerns.
When I meet with the unhappy client I try to assess the status of the case and determine whether the client's goals are realistic. I also want to know who the current attorneys are for both sides and the children as well as the name of the judge. There clearly are some attorneys who have excellent reputations and some that do not. I explain the cost of changing attorneys and do not make promises for results other than to commit to do everything that I can to help resolve the case more favorably. There are times where I suggest that the client remain with their current attorney. However, I also know they are in my office asking for a second opinion for a reason.
If I am retained I obtain the file from the former attorney and review it completely. The client and I will then meet to discuss the status of the case and the next steps to take. While there is an initial cost in changing attorneys, I find that the clients who do so remain satisfied because they have confidence in my ability to meet their needs.
A second opinion is only a phone call away. Whether or not you change attorneys you will always have more knowledge as a result of our meeting.