You should be able to trust the adoption attorney that you hire. Check out these seven questions that you should ask your adoption lawyer.
When asked about deciding factors for choosing an attorney, most people say a trustworthy reputation is the top priority. But how do you find an adoption lawyer you can trust in the first place?
It begins with the consultation. Lawyers offer consultations as obligation-free ways to interview your options. You have nothing to lose and a ton to gain by scheduling consultations with a few reputable adoption lawyers near you.
Once you get to the consultation, you need to ask questions. This is also the time when you will explain the details of your case. But don’t forget that the consultation is more for you than it is for the attorney.
This guide will break down seven of the most crucial questions to ask before hiring an adoption attorney. Read on to learn more.
1. How Long Have You Practiced Adoption Law?
The more experience a lawyer has with cases like yours, the higher the chances of success and the lower the rate of complications. But not all types of experience are equal. You want an adoption attorney who has extensive experience practicing adoption law locally.
Local lawyers understand the specific adoption laws in your state and city. They have a license to practice adoption law and have connections with other legal professionals in your area, which may benefit your case.
If you are planning to adopt a child internationally, experience is even more crucial. Your adoption lawyer will have to be approved to provide legal services to you in these unique situations.
2. How Many Adoptions Are You Working on Right Now?
This question aims to inquire into the lawyer’s workload. You don’t want to work with a legal professional who is juggling multiple other cases at the same time as they are working for you.
Importantly, ensure you ask how many adoptions the lawyer is personally working on, not the entire law firm. A larger law firm may have sufficient resources to handle a larger caseload without compromising its ability to focus on your case.
You may also want to ask if the attorney will handle your case himself or herself or if they will offload it to a more junior associate.
3. What Percentage of Your Practice Is Devoted to Adoptions?
Adoption law falls under the larger category of family law. Family lawyers may specialize in one type of family law, such as adoptions. Or they may offer an array of family law services like divorce, child custody, and mediation.
Ideally, you want to work with an attorney who primarily practices adoption law. Adoption cases have many nuances lawyers must account for, so specialization can ensure they have the expertise needed for a successful outcome.
Note that some firms may offer an array of family law services but still employ attorneys who specialize in adoption law. Don’t shy away from larger law firms like this, as they may have additional resources that could benefit your case.
4. What Is Your Track Record?
Experience in adoptions is all well and good. But if your attorney has never successfully completed an adoption case, that is most likely a red flag and a sign you should look elsewhere for representation.
You also want to find an adoption lawyer who has a successful track record with cases similar to yours. Examples of adoptions requiring more specific skill sets include non-relative, open, and out-of-state adoptions.
In addition to this question, you may also want to ask about average wait times. How the attorney answers this question can help you understand the longest and shortest wait times before bringing your new child home.
5. What Are Your Expectations for My Case?
This question can reveal a lot about an attorney, from their ability to be honest to how they communicate. It also shows their understanding of factors that could impact your case – your marital status, sexual orientation, age, race, and other factors.
Understanding your lawyer’s expectations can also help you set your own. If the attorney does not feel positive about your chances of adoption, heeding their advice will save you countless dollars, time, and stress.
At the same time, an attorney should never guarantee an outcome. Promising that your case will be successful is against the law and could cause your attorney to lose their license.
6. How Much Do You Charge?
This is one of the most important questions for many people when trying to find an adoption lawyer. You may only have a certain budget to spend on legal representation, making some professionals’ services cost-prohibitive for you.
However, it is important not to choose a lawyer based on price alone. You often get what you pay for regarding legal representation, so the cheapest option may also be the least desirable one.
Part of understanding how much you’ll pay for a lawyer’s services is knowing whether they charge a flat fee or an hourly rate. Ideally, you want to work with an attorney with flat rates so you know what you’ll pay upfront.
7. What Are Your Communication Policies?
You’ve heard the age-old saying that communication is key. Never is this more true than when choosing a lawyer. Adoption, in particular, is an emotionally taxing process, and you want to ensure you feel supported.
To gauge an adoption attorney’s communication style, consider asking them the following types of questions:
- What are your office hours?
- How soon do you return phone calls or emails?
- Do you handle clients’ questions, or does a paralegal or secretary?
You can also get a feel for their communication abilities and downfalls during the initial consultation. Good attorneys offer free initial consultations to give prospective clients the chance to ask questions and get a feel for if it’s the right fit.
Get Help With Adoption in Minnesota
These seven questions are essential for finding the right fit. You and your attorney will work side by side to finalize your adoption. Feeling supported and comfortable with the professional you choose can ease the adoption process.
Need help finding a Minnesota adoption lawyer who can guide you through every step of the process? Johnson/Turner is home to some of the state’s best adoption attorneys. Schedule a free consultation to get started.