- Experience – Look for an attorney who dedicates their practice to divorces, child custody, or family law. A lawyer who spends all their time on one subject typically is more knowledgeable than an attorney who practices many different areas of law.
- Specialization – Does the lawyer have to be “specialized” in Family Law to be a good attorney. Absolutely not. There are thousands upon thousands of excellent lawyers who are not recognized as “specialized”. In Texas it is called “Board Certified”. In my personal experiences, some of the best lawyers are not board certified and some of the worst lawyers I have ever dealt with are. It really makes no difference except in cost.
- Research online/references – Read online reviews on Avvo.com or other similar website or ask for references from the attorney.
- Meet the Lawyer – Many times you will know right away whether you can work with a person or not. Rely on your instincts. If you are not comfortable in the first meeting, chances are you will never be comfortable. How well do you communicate with them? Do they listen or are they just trying to sell you something?
- Man or Woman – I think this is overrated. I work equally hard for men or women and try to achieve the best possible results. I think it is the same for most attorneys. Some attorneys will market themselves as a “father’s lawyer” or “mother’s lawyer” but I would bet they have just as many clients of the opposite sex.
- What do they do when not handling divorce cases – Do they share their knowledge with others, or do they only share information when paid? Do they have a blog? Do they try to promote the practice of law by helping others? You can get a good idea about your lawyer with a little research.
- Determine the fee structure – Do they offer flat fees or do they only work on retainers? Many cases can be resolved in a flat fee system. If they do not offer flat fees, and your case is relatively simple, consider finding a lawyer who will offer a flat fee.
This is not an all inclusive list of the things to look for when hiring a divorce lawyer, but it gives you something to think about and a good place to start.