A family law attorney can perform a variety of services that you need to protect your family and your family's assets. Whether you want to set up a Living Will, a Trust for your estate, or want to hire a family law attorney to help you navigate a marital dispute, not all lawyers are created equal. Here are seven things to ask about during an initial consultation with an attorney to help you find the best legal representative for your family.
You want to be sure any attorney you work with is fully experienced in any legal operation you require. Be sure to ask if the attorney specializes in family law, and ask about some of the cases he or she has worked on in the past. Ask which cases they were most passionate about, and how many years they have been in practice. Always ask for and follow up on referrals from past cases the attorney has been involved with.
Ask if the attorney will personally be handling the case, or if the actual work will be handed down to a junior at the firm. Try to get a feel for whether the attorney will actually give your case his full attention. Does he have the time to work on it? Is your case something that she is clearly invested in?
Attorneys can be expensive. To help you mitigate and manage legal fees, be sure to ask about each lawyer's fee schedule and payment terms. Will he work on retainer? Is there an additional hourly rate? What happens when your retainer is depleted? Is there a rate for calling and speaking to secretaries, paralegals, and other supporting staff positions?
You need to know you can reach your attorney and get a response quickly so you can make the best decisions for your family. Ask how the attorney plans to update you about case progress. Ask if and how you will be able to communicate with him. Inquire what kind of systems are in place to make sure you are updated in a timely fashion.
Request copies of all correspondence regarding your case. This way you will always be up to date about progress. Ask your lawyer to automatically copy you on all messages sent or received regarding the case, whether mailed electronically or through snail mail.
Ask for the attorney's goals as they relate to your case. Ask if he works from a collaborative point of view, asking for the perspectives and needs of both parents and the children to better handle any dispute. Most lawyers will encourage mediation whenever possible for many kinds of legal disputes.
Finally sum up your initial consultation with any attorney you are considering hiring by freely communicating expectations. Ask if he can give you an upfront estimate of the total cost of his fees. Ask which factors will influence this estimate. Ask what you can expect if you hire them to represent you, and what he or she would expect from you as a client.