Hiring a divorce lawyer can be a very demanding project because so much rides on his or her performance.
The telephone directory for any town or city in America shows that there is no shortage of lawyers in the United States, but finding the right one for a divorce is a matter of work, which means interviewing prospective attorneys, and luck, which means finding one who works well with the client. And many first-time clients are understandably nervous about making a mistake.
Some lawyers spell out their philosophy and style as part of an introduction. Many lawyers tell clients that they can go hard or easy, and the clients suggest the amount of force brought to bear, but a lawyer who projects the image of a hired gun, or a “tough guy” image, may be someone the prospective client wants to avoid.
Many lawyers offer no-change interviews when the client and the attorney meet for the first time. The client normally focuses on the experience and track record the lawyer has in marriage and family law – the number of years in practice, the amount of courtroom experience, the additional professionals that may be available if needed.
The client normally questions how the lawyer envisions developing and pursuing the case. This may mean how he plans to apply his philosophy to the case.
The mechanics of case management and client contact should naturally concern the client. Normally, the lawyer spells out his expectations of the client, For example, most lawyers expect clients to “grab an oar and paddle,” meaning that the client will, for example, play an active role in gathering financial records.
From case management and client contact, it is natural to segue to fees and expenses and the signing of a retainer agreement. The retainer agreement is the lawyer’s employment contract, and it spells out the terms and conditions of his work.
The prospective client should remember that in hiring a lawyer, the only dumb question is the one that went unasked.