Are you looking for the right family attorney for your needs? Read here for nine helpful tips for choosing a local family law firm.
According to IBISWorld, there are 57,943 family law and divorce lawyers in the United States. So how do you choose the lawyer that is right for you?
If you need a family lawyer to handle divorce proceedings, a child custody case, or an adoption case, then you will need to hire a professional attorney to help you out. Unfortunately, a highly qualified lawyer will not just fall into your lap. It is up to you to do your research to find an attorney that fits your needs.
These are a few tips to keep in mind during your search.
1. Define Your Needs
Before deciding on a lawyer, you’ll need to determine your specific needs. Family law encompasses a wide range of issues, including divorce, child custody, adoption, spousal support, and more. Being able to clearly define your legal needs will help guide you in the right direction and find a law firm that is experienced with cases similar to yours.
While some cases may be straightforward, others are more complicated. Some divorce cases also have to work out child custody. Other cases may also have to consider spousal support or prenuptial agreements.
2. Do Your Research
Before selecting a law firm, make sure you do your research. One of the best ways to find a great lawyer is to ask your friends and family for recommendations. If your loved ones have gone through a similar situation, then they may be able to recommend legal help.
Additionally, you can read online reviews about different firms. Take a look at the law firm’s website as well as Google and Yelp to see what other people are saying about their experiences. Customers tend to be brutally honest online, so this is a great way to get information about a firm.
3. Check Expertise and Qualifications
A divorce, also known as a “Dissolution of Marriage,” according to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, is a very complicated process that requires trained professionals to handle. Similarly, child custody cases and spousal support cases also need to be handled with care. Because of this, you need to make sure that the attorney you work with has the proper qualifications and experience.
Take a look at the attorney’s educational background as well as statistics such as their success rate and how many years they have practiced law. It is also important to verify whether the attorneys are members of relevant bar associations and adhere to codes of conduct.
4. Assess Communication Skills
Legal cases can be confusing, so it is essential to ensure that your lawyer can explain complex legal concepts in a way that is understandable to you. This ensures that you will not only understand what is going on with your case but also that you have trust and confidence in your lawyer.
5. Check the Fee Structure
Before you fully commit to a law firm, you will want to get a good idea of how their fee structure works. These are a few of the most common fee structures.
This is a fee that a lawyer charges you during your first meeting. Some lawyers offer free consultations, while others have a fixed or hourly fee. Make sure you know whether or not you are required to pay before your first meeting.
With a contingency fee, your lawyer will take a percentage of the money you are awarded in your case. These fees vary, but oftentimes attorneys will take around one-third of your compensation. Contingency fees are not common in family law matters as these cases don’t always involve financial losses.
A flat fee is when an attorney charges a specific, total fee. This is the pricing model that Johnson/Turner follows.
With an hourly fee, your lawyer will charge you for every hour that they spend on your case.
6. Make Sure the Law Firm Is Accessible
Being able to access your legal team is important when it comes to delicate legal matters. It is a good idea to choose a law firm that is not too far from your home so you can easily get to the office if you need to sign documents or talk with your lawyer about legal matters.
Additionally, you will want to ensure that you can easily reach the law firm by phone or email. Ask about the average response times and inquire as to whether or not you will be able to contact your attorney directly.
7. Look For Warning Signs
In addition to keeping an eye out for the positives, you should also be aware of the red flags. These are a few warning signs that indicate the law firm may not be a good fit for you.
- The lawyer does not offer a free consultation
- No experience with your type of case
- Lack of communication
- Rude attorney or staff
- The lawyer is disorganized or unprepared
- They won’t answer questions about fees
- Conflict of interest
In the end, good communication and transparency is key.
8. Make Sure You Are Compatible With the Firm
When you are dealing with something as sensitive as getting a divorce or navigating a child custody agreement, it is important to make sure your values align with the law firm. Family law cases can bring up a lot of emotions, so it is important to choose a lawyer that you feel comfortable with. Assess whether the values and approach of the law firm align with your own.
9. Schedule a Free Consultation
Most law firms offer free initial consultations, which allow you to discuss your case and decide whether or not the firm is a good fit for you. Make sure you come to this meeting with a list of questions and be ready to engage in an open discussion about your case.
Find the Best Family Law Firm Today
We understand that selecting a family law firm is a significant decision that can majorly impact the lives of you and your family. Johnson/Turner is committed to providing every client with the best family law services. We offer a flat-fee pricing model, so you will always know up-front exactly how much you will be paying.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation today.