- What Are the Lawyer’s Specialties?
- What Is the Attorney’s Experience?
- How Long Does the Attorney Take to Return Communication?
- Will There Be Anyone Else Working on the Case?
- How Will the Client Be Charged?
- Are There Other Anticipated Costs?
- What Obstacles Does the Lawyer Anticipate in the Case?
Filing for divorce can be a confusing and intimidating process for anyone, and that first meeting with a divorce lawyer even more so.
It helps to come to the initial divorce consultation prepared, and these questions can help you know what to ask when meeting with a lawyer for the first time.
1. What Are the Lawyer’s Specialties?
Many attorneys handle a number of case types, but it does help to hire an attorney who is an expert in family law. It can be assumed that the attorney will know the most recent updates in the law and will know the ins and outs of the family court system where the case will be heard.
Having an attorney who regularly handles family law cases goes a long way, as he or she will also be familiar with the local judges and attorneys who may be on the other side. The attorney will also be experienced in dealing with the contentiousness and emotion behind family law cases.
If the attorney handles other areas of law, ask him or her what the percentage would be of how many family law cases that attorney handles.
2. What Is the Attorney’s Experience?
Keep in mind that the client is the one interviewing the attorney during this consultation. Not only does the client want to give his or her story, but the client also needs to learn about the attorney to see if it will be a good fit.
Another suggested question is to ask about the attorney’s experience. Ask the attorney about how many years he or she has practiced law and family law specifically. Ask how many cases he or she has handled that have gone to court or settled outside of court.
While the number of years of experience does not necessarily mean that the attorney is not qualified, especially if their practice is dedicated solely to family law, it does help to know if this attorney has experience in this specific practice area and to know if he or she has never stepped in a courtroom before.
Family law cases involve a great deal of discovery work and requires someone who knows what he or she is doing, both before a hearing and during the hearing.
3. How Long Does the Attorney Take to Return Communication?
One of the biggest complaints clients have regarding their attorneys is how long it takes for the attorney to return a call or message. While no one should expect the attorney to constantly be working around the clock on one case alone, receiving a response or at least an acknowledgement that they have receive the client’s communication is helpful.
The client wants to feel like his or her case is important to the attorney. One of the best ways to feel important is for the attorney to return communications within a reasonable period of time.
4. Will There Be Anyone Else Working on the Case?
If the client hires a law firm, it is safe to say there will be a couple of attorneys working on the case. An attorney who is a partner may choose to utilize the assistance of an associate attorney in preparing the case, so the client may be dealing with that person.
Paralegals also work closely with the attorneys on preparing a case, and the client may be communicating more often with the paralegal than the attorney. A smaller practice may be a better fit if you prefer more direct communication with your attorney.
5. How Will the Client Be Charged?
No one wants to be surprised when they receive a bill in the mail from their attorney, so it helps to know from the start how much the lawyer will charge for hourly services.
During the initial consultation, most attorneys will address their required initial retainer to get things going, but what happens once that retainer is depleted? Will the attorney want the client to replenish the retainer? How much will the hourly rate be for the attorney and any other legal staff working on the case?
6. Are There Other Anticipated Costs?
Other costs may come up during the family law case, in addition to the hourly fees charged by the lawyer. Courts normally require filing fees to start cases, so ask about how much these fees are.
In addition, if the case requires depositions, expert witnesses or other costs, ask about what these costs are so that the client can be aware of these fees before they occur.
7. What Obstacles Does the Lawyer Anticipate in the Case?
No case goes 100 percent smoothly. Things happen along the way, especially when it comes to family law.
Ask the attorney from his or her personal experience what types of pitfalls and obstacles he or she may anticipate coming up. It is best to be aware of these possibilities upfront, even before they occur. If the attorney has been practicing law for quite some time, he or she may have seen a number of stories.
Do not think of it as being paranoid but rather think of it as being practical to anticipate things ahead of time.
Contact Voss Law Today!
If you are going through a divorce and have questions regarding what to expect, contact us today to discuss the best options for your case. Consultations are always free. Call us today at 323-333-4481.