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How to Find A Good Attorney

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neverwillhapn2me posted 1/12/2014 09:20 AM

Well I do not have any referrals or any friends or family that have been through this that can recommend an attorney tome.

I have gone on-line to look for an attorney, looking for reviews. Some were helpful. But are they true reviews or someone the attorney had send it in?

I would really like to find someone who had a personal experience that they could share with me, then have a consult to see if that Lawyer is for me. Unfortunately I do not have that luxury.

Any suggestions on how to locate a good attorney? I would like to go the route of a mediator, but I do want to retain a really good Lawyer to review what ever I agree to prior to signing it and at least have them in my back pocket if my WW decides to play nasty.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Catwoman posted 1/12/2014 09:27 AM

Many major metropolitan areas publish a city magazine, and they often do "best of the best" issues featuring professionals like doctors and attorneys. That would be a good place to start.

If you have children and are concerned about custody arrangements, you might try a regional dad's rights group--they might have a referral or know of someone who can protect your interests.

I wish I could be of more help--I am simply unfamiliar with what resources might be available in Canada.


neverwillhapn2me posted 1/12/2014 10:44 AM

Do you have to pay for a consult? or do most Lawyers offer this for free with the hopes you will retain them.

I mean if go and meet 3 lawyers to see who best suits me, that good be 300 dollars a visit.

tesla posted 1/12/2014 11:01 AM

I arranged a couple of free consultations. They were cold calls, I had no reason to select the ones I did except that they were from my town and practiced family law.

I took some time and thought about the type of person that I wanted to represent me.

I had a list of questions regarding the process and wanted to know what to expect.

The first one was a dud because I didn't feel he was getting me or hearing my situation.

The second one I retained because she seemed to understand my goals and articulated how I could get there.

ruby44 posted 1/12/2014 11:16 AM

Some do free consults, in person or the phone at least here in the States. Visit their webpages, find someone who just does family law, if you have kids and custody is an issue, they will talk about their experience. Lawyers like to talk, so if you can interview one on the phone, they will likely give you enough insight to decide if it is a good fit with you. I interviewed 3, and chose the one with the most experience. Though of the 3 I only outright rejected one. She was very dismissive and clearly only did divorces to fund her office. Since my STBX is controlling, I needed someone to deflect that legally. Decide what you need from them and tailor your questions to fit that need. I also selected an office with more then one attorney so that for simple status hearings, he could send the rookie for less money but for the big negotiations I will have the experienced attorney handle it.

lifestoshort posted 1/12/2014 11:49 AM

dont try to find the best one off the bat. call all, get a free consult with anyone you can and then this creates, conflict of interest so ex cant use those lawyers either.

as you have a consult with each, many of your questions or all will be answered. you will see rates, retainers and their ways of practicing. find out if they are firm or laid back.

my guy is in between- he told me could fight hard but he doesn't at all. I did win everything tho. I saw 3 other attys before I chose him. i chose him based on his easy answers, his rate and lower retainer. most retainers here are $3500-5K

devistatedmom posted 1/12/2014 12:40 PM

US and Canada are fairly similar in stuff like this. Some lawyers will give a free consult, some won't.

Look up some in your area Never. Call, see what they say about a consult. Sometimes, just by talking to them on the phone or their paralegal, you can get a feeling if they are someone you want to deal with, KWIM? Also, like Cat said, look up Dad's Rights Lawyers in your area...that could help you greatly.

Also, I know you say you don't know anyone, but I'm betting asking one or two people at your work would turn up a few names. Even if they haven't D, their best friend or brother has. You don't know until you ask.

neverwillhapn2me posted 1/12/2014 12:41 PM

Thank you All,

What would I bring to the consult? any financial info, or it this an informal meeting for me to ask questions and for us to feel each other out etc...?

Im a confident independent young man who have taken care of myself wife and kids for years, Even taken care of my mother for a bit.

Why am i so scared and confused??

sparklezombie posted 1/12/2014 12:46 PM

You can always call a different type of attorney, like a personal injury, criminal, real estate or estate planning attorney. I'm an atty (not divorce) and when folks call, I give them referrals to people I know in whatever practice area they need. I'm experienced enough to know a good atty from a crummy one, so I can generally give a pretty good referral. At least it's a leg up from the phone book.

neverwillhapn2me posted 1/12/2014 12:55 PM

Spark;e: I wish you were somewhere near me for an honest referral.

I have gone online and did a bit of research. I was referred to a site where I can get some free legal advice.

Some attorneys mention others that they respected and were very tough to go up against.

They did mention that they wereVERY EXPENSIVE, but said well worth every cent because they new they had a difficult time when up against them.

One of them practices in my area.

crisp posted 1/12/2014 13:42 PM

I hope to give you a reality check here since many people have very distorted views on what to look for in prospective counsel. Having practiced for decades and running up against all types of attorneys, I think I can both dispel some common myths and steer you toward how to find the right match for you.

In most situations where people find themselves needing an attorney's help, the issues are not unique, highly complex or in need of extraordinary specialized expertise. Generally, divorce cases fit into "the run of the mill" cases. So, that means most domestic relations attorneys are competent to handle your case. On the other hand, just because someone is competent to handle your case, it does not mean that person is a good fit for you.

First, identify what issues are present in your case. Custody issues? Support payment issues? Property settlement issues such as illiquid assets, pensions, inheritances or spendthrift may need attention. Next, do a short internet search of the law on these issues in your state so that you know enough to ask the right questions. Then, make some cold calls to family law attorneys you found on the internet, the phone book or you heard about from someone.

Now is the more tricky part. What you want to end up with is a good feeling about the person who is going to guide you through to the next part of your life. After meeting with any lawyer ask yourself:
1. Does this person have experience before this court in divorce proceedings?
2. Do I have a good idea how much this process will cost? Keep in mind that the hourly rate is only one component in the fee. An attorney charging $150 can add up to more money then a $300/hr. lawyer depending on how aggressive the billing practices are. Although your attorney cannot predict how much time your STBX and his attorney will drive up costs, he/she should be able to give you fairly accurate ranges.
3. Did he/she educate me about the most important issues and likely outcomes of my case? For instance, you might be confronted with spousal support issues.
4. Did he/she explain to your satisfaction what to expect during the divorce proceedings in terms of income, assets, housing, their fees getting paid and any other important immediate issue you have.

The bottom line is that this person will be trusted with getting you out of a predicament with a reasonable outcome for a reasonable cost with the least amount of drama and time. DO NOT find yourself the biggest asshole out there (shark). That type will drive up cost and painful drama for their benefit, not yours. Interviewing 2 or 3 attorneys and asking followup questions is not a bad idea.

lifestoshort posted 1/12/2014 13:49 PM

you do not need to bring all that to the 1st meeting. bring your questions in a notebook and then write notes as he speaks.

each time I saw a new person, I have more questions.

also go to the library or buy a book on divorce so you understand process and lingo. was REALLY helpful for me and saved me alot of money by not asking the lawyers that later

one2ndchance posted 1/12/2014 14:05 PM

Reading a book to understand the lingo is a good idea, but understand that each state has it's own divorce laws and they vary. Go to your states website and search divorce laws. Make sure you are on the official state website. URL should end in .gov

While there will be alot to read, most of it is explained in layman's terms. I read my laws, took notes, and it saved me time with my lawyer having to educate me on certain areas.

ItHappened2Me2 posted 1/12/2014 16:41 PM

If you have friends that have been through a divorce and they were happy with their attorney, schedule a consult an see if they are a "fit" for you.

No friends that have been through this?? Check with your IC. Or your pastor. I know folks who have gotten very good attorneys for their situations through these channels.

If those are options, call several folks you "like" from internet research and start there.

It IS scary!!! I have had 2 consults -- the first one sucked -- I would NEVER use that attorney for anything. The 2nd one, I really liked. I will probably call or have a consult with a couple of more before I select one.

Be informed and use what you learn with one attorney to ask questions from the next.

[This message edited by ItHappened2Me2 at 5:41 PM, January 12th (Sunday)]

myowndystopia posted 1/12/2014 21:46 PM

I just asked for question suggestions last weekend. I'll bump that thread for you because there were some good suggestions. If you are in IC, ask if he/she has references. I haven't good friend that does MC and IC and she gave me names. My own IC also gave me names

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