How do you pick the right family law attorney? That’s the question I’ll answer for you today.
How do you select the right family law attorney? To answer that question, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Before you even sit down and speak with an attorney, you want to make sure they have some experience in family law. After you’ve done your research and feel comfortable meeting with them, call their office and schedule some time to discuss your situation.
The initial consultation allows you to determine whether you feel comfortable working with them or not and vice versa. This consultation usually lasts 30 minutes to an hour—some attorneys charge you for this time, while others don’t. Additionally, some will offer you a free phone consultation but charge you for an in-person meeting. The structure of the initial meeting depends on the attorney.
What can you expect from the consultation? First, you need to know the attorney’s style and approach to handling cases. Beware of any overpromises of success or emotional responses to your case. You want someone to advocate on your behalf, but you don’t want someone who’s unable to objectively review both sides and rationally decide a plan of action for you—emotional responses in family law cases can cost you.
A more detailed analysis of the issues in your case will most likely occur after you retain your counsel, but you want to understand how you’ll be impacted. You also want to learn who will work on your case. A lot of attorneys have paralegals to assist with document preparation and other office duties. Additionally, you’ll want to know the firm’s preferred communication style and whether that style will work for you.
During this time, you have the opportunity to ask the attorney questions, so before the meeting, prepare a list of your most important questions. In the Los Angeles area, hourly rates run from $250 to $1,000, and the average is between $400 and $500. Of course, this can vary if your attorney is a certified family law specialist.
Some attorneys charge flat fees, but others require their clients to pay a retainer, which is an upfront fee for a specified number of hours to pay for the attorney’s services. These can range from $1,200 to $25,000.
At the end of the day, you want to select someone who’s experienced in family law and can objectively handle your matter in the most cost-effective way.
If you have any questions about this or any other legal matter, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d be happy to speak with you.