What to look for in a divorce lawyer? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 07-25-2007, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've started looking and i'm overwhelmed. SHould I just start calling them? I don't know any divorced people to ask.
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#2 of 10 Old 07-25-2007, 07:55 PM
 
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Call and set up about 3-4. After the first one, you'll have ideas for questions to ask the others. Ask if they charge a fee for a consultation. All of mine did. I was able to call afterwards and have 2 waive their charges.

I chose my lawyer because she believed that what I wanted was possible. The others were pretty pessimistic.
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#3 of 10 Old 07-25-2007, 08:02 PM
 
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This may sound harsh, but everyone told me to get a barracuda. Just in case the other party decides to fight dirty.

for intuitive readings click here :
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#4 of 10 Old 07-25-2007, 11:28 PM
 
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experience, and try to get recommendations, and if you think you made a mistake in choosing your attorney bail out asap.
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#5 of 10 Old 07-26-2007, 12:00 AM
 
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Recommendations are one of the best ways to go, but it can be tough if you don't know very many people who have needed a divorce attorney. One thing you could do is go to the courthouse clerk's office and ask them if they can recommend someone. They may not want to, but it's worth a shot. They deal with these people day in and day out and should know who has a good reputation and who doesn't.

Once you have a short list, try to contact your state bar association and make sure that there have not been any disciplinary actions taken against them. Only a small percentage of complaints are ever substantiated and rise to the level that they warrant disciplinary action, so you'll probably want to stay away from those attorneys whose activities get them to that place.

When you're interviewing someone, see how well they listen. See how organized they are. Attorneys should be very organized. Disorganization can easily lead to missed deadlines. Make sure they don't have client papers laying around the office in plain view because those will likely be your papers if you retain them. Trust your gut. You want a person who will fight for you but you also want someone who is rational, knows when and what to give on, and, above all, who has integrity. An attorney with no integrity likely has a poor reputation in the community and will not be well-received in court.

Also, it never hurts to google once you get some names.
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#6 of 10 Old 07-26-2007, 12:17 AM
 
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You can also search attorneys on Martindale-Hubbell website. This website lists all local attorneys. Being rated by this entity is the highest honor an attorney can receive. Attorneys are rated based on their legal ability and ethical standards. When you search, run an advanced search, select your city or county, USA & state, and make sure you check the "Featured Peer Review Rated Only" box, and select Family Law. Click on each attorney's name and see their rating. AV is the highest, then BV, then CV. While AV is the best you can get, even a CV rating is still an achievement in both, ethics & legal ability. This should get you a good list to start from. Then start calling & interviewing them to find one you click with. Good luck!
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#7 of 10 Old 07-26-2007, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you!!! I talked to one today who sounded great. She's about my age (which for some reason I appreciate) and both she and her partner have small children (which I also appreciate)

I'm setting up a meeting with another one next week.

It's nice to be moving forward!

Thanks again for your advice. I will ask for plenty more I'm sure.
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#8 of 10 Old 07-26-2007, 10:16 PM
 
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Martindale-Hubbell is a good place to start for generating a list.. Don't rely on the ratings, though. There are attorneys rated very well on there that I personally would not trust to do my laundry, much less handle a case.
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#9 of 10 Old 07-27-2007, 12:50 PM
 
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It also never hurts to get recomendations from other mamas here, if you don't mind telling us what city you're in. I was able to recommend a good atty to a few different moms here, and whether or not they ended up retaining her, it still gave them one more person to check out and one more reference point to help them get to the atty who was right for them. Good luck!
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#10 of 10 Old 07-27-2007, 02:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in San Jose, CA
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