A woman called my office and a colleague's office this week and demanded over the phone our "rock bottom price to do a divorce". My paralegal offered her a free consultation to which she replied "just get out of your chair and get me the price" followed by "if you worked for me I would fire you". Obviously she will not be a client of our office and will be a headache for any lawyer who accepts her as a client.
Choosing a divorce attorney is not easy but there are ways to help make sure that you make a good choice. If you are able to get a recommendation that is always a very good first step if you believe the person either has personal experience with the attorney or is aware of the attorney's reputation.
One thing is certain is that shopping for a divorce attorney by price alone, meaning the amount of their retainer and hourly price, can be very misleading and create a poor match. While there are exceptions to every general statement there are some clear concerns. I doubt that anyone would choose a doctor by the price he charges for an appendectomy or heart surgery. Most people want either the best surgeon that they can afford or a highly competent surgeon if the procedure is routine.
Translated to selecting a matrimonial lawyer, the lowest hourly rate and the lowest retainer may bring a host of problems to the client. Some lawyers that run low priced cases do not have a secretary or paralegal so when you call your messages always go to voicemail. Some lawyers who market their practices with low fees have a very large volume of cases and the attorney is always in court, on the phone or with a client and is unavailable to answer questions and give advice. The only time that you hear from the attorney is the day before or the morning of a court appearance. If you are like most clients who need questions answered, take a look at the size of the lawyer's practice and how many messages are piled up on his desk. Ask the lawyer what his policy is on returning phone calls.
The level of expertise can vary greatly as well. A young lawyer or a lawyer just starting his practice may need to charge less to try and attract clients who are shopping price. Keep in mind that the more experienced lawyers charge more because they may know the answers to your questions, can work faster (thus less time is billed), create better strategy for your case and have more experience working with your individual judge. If your case may go to trial, ask the lawyer about his trial experience. Ask the lawyer how he plans to handle your matter.
The internet has made it much easier to obtain information about almost anyone. Lawyers that have busy practices and that have been concentrating in one area can be found using search engines. Review their biography, read their blogs, read the comments of former clients and consider how the lawyer markets his practice and what he says. Finally, call for an appointment, listen to what the lawyer says to you, decide if you feel the attorney is a good match for your case and determine if you feel comfortable talking about your personal life with the lawyer.
Please call my office to arrange your free consultation so you can see why my law firm will be the best firm to help you with your family law case.