7 Must-Know Tips for Hiring an Attorney for Your Case

When you find yourself faced with a legal issue, the steps you take next can literally impact the rest of your life. Hiring a legal professional – and doing it the right way – is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.

Not sure how to hire an attorney for your case? You’re in the right place! Keep reading for ten must-know tips that will make hiring an attorney easy.

1. Ask for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find a good attorney is to ask people you trust for recommendations. Start with family and friends – ask if they’ve had a positive personal experience with an attorney in the area of specialty you’re looking for.

If you have a relationship with an attorney who works in a different specialty, he or she may also be able to give you a recommendation. For example, your business lawyer probably can’t help with a personal injury case, but he may be able to refer you to a great personal injury lawyer.

Use these recommendations to create a short list of three to five attorneys who you’ll investigate further before making a decision.

2. Do Online Research

Next, it’s time to hop online and start doing some research about each of the attorneys on your list. Check Google reviews and at least a couple of the lawyer review sites – like Lawyers.com and Justia.

It’s also a good idea to take a look through the lawyer’s website and their social media – including the reviews section. Remember that you can’t please everyone, so don’t put too much weight into one or two bad reviews, but if you start to see a pattern, consider crossing that lawyer off your list.

3. Schedule a Consultation

Once your research is done, narrow down your list to the top three, then call to schedule consultations. Most attorneys will meet with you for at least a brief consultation without charging you.

Pay attention to whether the person who answers the phone is polite and accommodating. When you arrive at the office, notice whether the location is convenient and whether you feel comfortable in the space.

4. Ask the Right Questions

When you sit down with the lawyer, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. This will ensure that you make good use of the time you have and that you don’t forget anything important.

Some of the questions you’ll want to ask include:

  • Do you specialize in cases like mine?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you feel that I have a strong case?
  • How much do you think my case is worth?
  • How often do you take cases to court vs. setting?
  • Who will be handling my case?
  • How and when will I need to pay?

Look for an attorney who is honest and upfront when answering your questions. Don’t be afraid to take notes, as you’ll want to compare the interviews with each of your top three options and remembering who said what could become a challenge.

5. Assess fees and Costs

You never want to hire an attorney based on cost alone, but, of course, price does matter. Ask the attorney to thoroughly explain their fees, and, if possible, to provide you with a written summary. Don’t feel like you’re “being cheap,” you deserve to know what you’re paying for and how much it’s going to cost you.

6. Review the Payment Arrangements

There are different ways that your attorney might bill you. Options include:

  • Contingency fee – the attorney receives a percentage of what you’re awarded if you win your case.
  • Flat fee – a set dollar amount for services. This is common for simple things like writing a will or filing a non-contested divorce.
  • Hourly rate – this is a set fee per hour. The final cost will depend on the number of hours worked.
  • Retainer – this is a fee you pay upfront. Lawyers often use this to pay expenses and fees associated with trying your case.

It’s important to understand how your attorney bills so you know when and how much you can expect to pay. If you don’t ask these questions, you could end up with an unpleasant surprise.

7. Listen to Your Gut

Once you’ve reviewed all of this information and met with each potential attorney, it’s time to evaluate your experience with each and make a final decision. You’ll use logic for most of this evaluation, but it’s also important to listen to your gut. If you have a really great feeling about one attorney that you met with – if you feel like you trust and believe in him or her – then this is a great indication that you’ve made the right choice.

The same goes for a negative feeling. Even if you can’ quite put your finger on it, if there’s something that just doesn’t seem quite right to you, then move on. There are thousands of lawyers out there, so it makes sense to keep looking until you find one that’s a good fit for you.

Hiring an Attorney is a Critical Decision

Follow these tips for hiring an attorney and you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you’ve made an excellent choice. If you need even more information, take a few minutes to scroll through some of our other helpful blog posts!

TIPS FOR HIRING A DIVORCE LAWYER

Hiring a divorce lawyer serving The Woodlands requires more planning than simply selecting a name from a phone book. The right attorney will thoroughly prepare you for the hearing or help you explore alternatives to a formal trial. He or she will serve as your legal advocate and function to protect your best interests. Before you hire a divorce lawyer , you’ll need to meet with him or her to discuss your case and ask any questions you may have. It’s always wise to write down a few questions prior to arriving for your first consultation with a divorce lawyer.divorce lawyer in conroe, tx

Schedule an Initial Consultation

If a divorce lawyer is highly recommended by your friends or family members, then you’ll need to schedule a brief appointment before hiring him or her. Be sure to ask if the family attorney charges a consultation fee for the appointment. Some divorce lawyers offer initial consultations free of charge. Others can charge over $500 each. When you go to the law office, bring along any relevant paperwork, such as a copy of a prenuptial agreement if you have one as well as any pleadings which may have been served upon you by your spouse’s lawyer.

Ask the Right Questions

You can expect the divorce lawyer to ask you some questions about your case and your goals for the outcome of the divorce. For example, would you like to pursue physical custody of the children, and do you plan to seek spousal support? In turn, you’ll have the opportunity to ask the lawyer a few questions. Since your time is limited, make such questions count. You can ask how much experience the lawyer has handling divorce cases and how the lawyer might approach your case. What is his or her governing philosophy in general? You can also ask about the lawyer’s views regarding the advisibility an agreed or uncontested divorce.

Discuss Practical Arrangements

Before you leave the law office, make sure you understand how the logistics of your case will be handled, and the expected time frame. Discuss arrangements such as the lawyer’s fee structure, how often you’ll be contacted with updates, and who you should call if you have questions later on.

Trust Your Instincts

After your consultation, take a few minutes to evaluate the information you received and the first impression the lawyer made. Although choosing a lawyer with experience is a must, it’s critical to select a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable discussing highly personal, sensitive matters. A world-famous lawyer who you cannot communicate with is much worse than the average Joe six-pack lawyer with whom you can both communicate and feel comfortable. Hire a divorce lawyer who will treat you with the compassion and respect you deserve during a difficult time in your life.

Three Reasons To Choose A Concierge Law Firm Service

The mid-sixteenth century word “concierge,” alluding to a caretaker and guide, has been extended to many disciplines outside of the hospitality industry — including the legal profession.

Law firms that provide subscription-based services are becoming increasingly popular in today’s on-demand economy. This growing niche within the legal industry has been named “concierge law”, echoing the similar trend of on-demand concierge medical services.

There are several advantages to choosing a concierge law firm service for guidance in legal, business, and financial matters. At Hamlin | Cody we’ve mastered this approach and offer it to our clients for the reasons outlined below.

Preferred Access to Expertise

Hourly fees can add up with no relationship to the value provided. They can make you hesitate to contact a lawyer due to cost-related concerns. Concierge law is becoming popular due to the multitude of clients who are looking for legal expertise but would prefer to avoid the sound of a meter ticking with every conversation.

With a traditional hourly billing structure, a client may rush through the process to save money. They may be reluctant to ask all the questions they need to in order to fully understand the issue and their options. When their attorney asks questions to learn more about their concerns, they may view the questions as designed to increase the fee without regard to the benefit to themselves.

A concierge approach helps to alleviate the pressure of “billable hours.” Instead, a law firm will charge clients a monthly or annual fee for an array of services available when they need them. By limiting the number of concierge slots available, our concierge clients can be assured of preferred access to legal counsel.

Proactive Legal and Practical Strategy

Concierge law can save time and money when used as a proactive form of legal strategy. When most people approach a lawyer, it’s because they already have a problem and they need a lawyer to help them solve it. Rather than deal with issues as they arise, it’s possible to avoid them completely when working with an attorney on an ongoing basis.

For example, business and property owners often face major financial, personal, and legal decisions. Who better to assist in these decisions than an attorney who knows their goals, their concerns, and how the law affects them?

As another example, how often does an unexpected legal issue arise? A concierge attorney who knows your goals and concerns can head off problems before they arise. A concierge attorney can provide a prompt response to that unexpected demand letter without having to gather background information first.

Precise and Personalized Support and Advice

When seeking legal advice, wouldn’t it be great to have your lawyer already on speed dial? Similar to many medical services that are now just a call away, concierge law can provide personalized advice on the matters most pertinent in a client’s life.

There is a joke about an attorney who offers perfectly accurate (and perfectly useless) advice. With a concierge relationship, you will hear more than just a recital of the law. You will receive pragmatic guidance that is consistent with your goals.

A concierge law firm will also keep a detailed history of their clients so no repetitive explanations are necessary. They will know you, and you will know them. The more they do for you, the better they will be at achieving the outcome that you want. This style of relationship allows legal services to become customized to the individual and provide the right support.

Concierge law is far from a “one-size-fits-all” approach. In reality, it offers an opportunity to get to know the client and come up with solutions that will work best for them. At Iowa Divorce Law firm, we are proud to offer this service to a limited number of our clients and provide them with the care and guidance they need. To learn more about our concierge service, please hit Reply to schedule a Get Acquainted Call.

DIVORCE WHEN YOU’RE THE FINANCIALLY DEPENDENT SPOUSE

When your marriage ends, it can be devastating. If you are financially dependent on your spouse and you’ve never had a job outside the home, it can financially devastating and frightening. You don’t have to be a stay-at-home spouse; you can also be the spouse who makes significantly less money. Regardless of the circumstance that make you financially dependent on your spouse, it can be scary when you are forced to face a reality where you need to make ends meet alone.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is an important provision that provides financial support to dependent or spouses unable to support themselves without help. The length of spousal support is determined by the court or by the spouses during settlement negotiations. It’s important that once either party has filed for divorce, the spouse with the lower or lack of income files for temporary support until the divorce agreement is finalized. A temporary support order can be made retroactively up to three months, and the spouse who needs support can also seek an advance of their support payments so they can secure legal counsel during the divorce.

Qualifications for Spousal Support in Iowa?

To qualify for spousal support, the filing spouse must be at an earning disadvantage to their mate. In Iowa, spousal support can be awarded if one party was at home providing unpaid services, such as a stay-at-home parent. The goal of spousal support is to give assistance to a spouse who would not be able to be financially stable without help. It can also be awarded to help a spouse to gain marketable skills so they would not need support payments.

What Factors are Important When Awarding Spousal Support?

The amount of a spousal support award is not fixed in Iowa. It is based on a myriad of factors that the court takes into consideration.

Before awarding spousal support, the court will consider:

· Length of the marriage

· Standard of living during the marriage

· Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements in place

· Any other form of compensation agreement, like an agreement to pay a spouse back for funding education towards a career.

· Financial health of each spouse

· Marketability of current skills, training, or education of requesting spouse

· Earning capacity of the spouse seeking support,

· Filing spouse’s length of absence from the job market

· The custodial situation of children of the marriage

· Tax consequences of a spousal award on both parties

· Current age, physical, and mental health of each spouse

How is the Amount and Duration of Spousal support Calculated in Iowa?

A judge will review the details of the case and make a ruling regarding spousal support. The amount of the award and the length of the payments will be at the judge’s discretion.

Iowa has three types of spousal support orders:

· Rehabilitative: Rehabilitative support helps financially dependent spouses who need help becoming self-supporting. Typically, when this form of support is awarded, the court believes the facts support both spouses eventually working and being self-supporting, but it acknowledges that because of the marriage, one spouse cannot find employment to sustain their life presently.

· Traditional: Traditional support payments are for spouses who the court feels are unlikely to become gainfully employed and self-sufficient, typically due to age, health, or other reason related to the marriage.

· Reimbursement: Reimbursement support is awarded when a spouse made financial sacrifices to support the educational and career goals of their mate. It’s not common in Iowa, but when a spouse uses their income or time to support the career development of their mate with the understanding they would also benefit from their spouse’s increased income, the court can award support payment to the spouse who help fund their mate’s degree.

Choose an Experienced Des Moines Divorce Attorney

Going through a divorce is hard when you are financially dependent on your spouse. The Law Office of Mark R. Hinshaw, PLC, is available for consultations to review your case and help you determine the merits of your support claim. You can schedule today by calling us at (515) 200-7571 or reaching out through our online contact portal.

WHAT CAN BE USED AGAINST ME IN A DIVORCE?

What is a Divorce Lawyer and what does he or she do? | iedivorce

Top 5 Things That Can Be Used Against You During Your Divorce

Whether you’re filing a contested or uncontested divorce, your case can get heated quickly if your spouse uncovers evidence against you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, here’s some advice from our divorce lawyers at Denver Family Lawyers.

1. Extraordinary Spending

Everything is traceable — including your credit cards and financial information. And, although Colorado is a “no-fault” divorce state, marital waste is the one form of misconduct that is generally accepted by Colorado family courts.

What is Marital Waste?

Also known as the dissipation of assets, marital waste is the intentional destruction or depletion of marital assets by one spouse, which would otherwise be split between the couple during divorce proceedings.

Dissipation of assets may be proven through the following transactions:

  • Spending marital money on extramarital affairs.
  • Transferring marital funds to another person before a separation.
  • Spending unreasonable amounts on business expenditures.
  • Selling marital assets below the market value.
  • Spending money on illegal activities such as gambling.

2. Hidden Assets

Even if your soon-to-be-ex doesn’t know where the money went, they’ll know where it was. Hiding or moving money out of joint bank accounts prior to your divorce raises the same red flags as extraordinary spending. Marriage often includes plenty of paperwork — for homes, loans, taxes, and other documentation. These documents can be used against you if the opposing party believes you’re withholding or hiding assets or other funds.

3. Your Romantic Relationships

It seems only natural to want to find a new companion after your marriage ends, but doing so before your divorce is officially finalized can actually impact the outcome of your divorce settlement. Not only will dating during your divorce harm your chances of obtaining the results you are seeking, but it is also a bad idea for emotional reasons, especially if you share children with your soon-to-be former spouse.

If your new partner has a questionable background and you are seeking custody or certain visitation rights, this can also harm your child custody case. Keep in mind that any individual who has frequent contact with your children will be heavily scrutinized and become part of a child custody investigation. Therefore, if your new girlfriend or boyfriend has an unsavory history, you can expect it to have repercussions when it comes to how much time you are able to have with your children.

4. Social Media Posts

Social media experts say that even if you delete a post off the internet it sticks around forever — and if your spouse finds it, their attorney will surely use it.

Going through a divorce is tremendously emotional, and even if your post seemed innocent to you, it can be used against you during your case. Additionally, social media is one of the easiest ways for a spouse to track adulterous behavior, and those posts will be reviewed by a judge during your divorce trial.

According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, Facebook is the leader in social networking sites used to gather dirt spouses can use against each other during a divorce. The bottom line? If you’re going through a divorce, it may be best to limit your social media use until your case is finalized. Even afterward, posts could be used against you in regard to child custody agreements.

5. Text Messages and Emails

Just like your social media posts, text and emails can turn around and bite you even if you’ve deleted them. Though you may think that your communication is private — this isn’t the case.

Anything you put in writing can be used against you and is fair game for the opposing party. However, if your ex plans to use texts or emails not directed toward them, he or she must be able to show that they had the authority to access the information. During the discovery process, your ex-spouse and their lawyer can submit a subpoena for your texts, phone logs, and emails.

Our Advice? Hire an Experienced Denver Family Law Attorney

How to Find a Good Divorce Lawyer | Terry & Roberts

Often, we find that clients come to us after they’ve tried to handle their divorce on their own — only to find themselves in a deeper emotional, financial, and legal battle. Our best advice is to lawyer up before you and your spouse begin your divorce trial to ensure your case is handled properly, and so we can advise you on how to proceed.

At our Family Lawyers, we can provide the knowledgeable and experienced representation you need during this difficult time to ensure your interests are well-protected. Do not leave the outcome of your divorce up to chance by representing yourself.

Get started on your divorce case today and reach out to our law office.

Attorney Misconduct

China to clean-up lawyer misconduct, attorney accused of sexual assault  singled out - Global Times

Attorney-client Relationship

The model rules set forth specific guidelines defining the attorney-client relationship. An attorney will be guilty of misconduct, for example, if she or he fails to provide competent representation to a client, to act with diligence and promptness regarding a client’s legal concerns, or to keep a client informed of legal proceedings. Charging exorbitant fees or overbilling is also considered misconduct, as is counseling a client to commit a crime. For example, trial lawyer Harvey Myerson was suspended in 1992 from the practice of law by the New York Supreme Court after he was convicted of over-billing

Attorney-Client Sexual Relations

Prosecutors Sometimes Behave Badly. Now They May Be Held to Account. - The  New York Times

The AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA) has recognized sexual relations between attorneys and their clients as a significant ethical problem for the legal profession. The ABA’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility addressed this issue in 1992 by issuing a formal opinion (no. 92-364). Although the opinion acknowledged that the Model Rules of Professional Conduct do not specifically address the issue of attorney-client sex, it argued that an attorney’s sexual relationship with a current client “may involve unfair exploitation of the lawyer’s fiduciary position and presents a significant danger that the lawyer’s ability to represent the client adequately may be impaired, and that as a consequence the lawyer may violate both the Model Rules and the Model Code.” Becoming sexually intimate with a client, the opinion adds, undermines the “objective detachment” necessary for LEGAL REPRESENTATION because “[t]he roles of lover and lawyer are potentially conflicting ones.” In addition, the opinion argued, attorney-client sex introduces a clear conflict of interest into a case, and it may also compromise ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE, the principle that ensures the confidentiality of lawyer-client communication. Any secrets revealed to an attorney by a client outside of their legal relationship may not be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Proponents of professional rules against attorney-client sexual contact argue that the legal profession should follow the example of other professions such as psychology and psychiatry, and create strict sanctions against sex with clients. Legal clients, these proponents say, are often vulnerable when dealing with attorneys, particularly in such areas of legal practice as FAMILY LAW. A lawyer who becomes sexually involved with a client in a DIVORCE proceeding can take advantage of the client under-going emotional trauma. That lawyer may hinder any attempts at reconciliation between a couple and complicate matters for any children involved. Sexual relationships between lawyer and client may also affect custody and child visitation decisions in the case. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, in its Standards of Conduct in Family Law Litigation, specifically prohibits attorney-client sex: “An attorney should never have a sexual relationship with a client or opposing counsel during the time of the representation” (§ 2.16 [1991]).

Some attorneys object to such rules, arguing that they interfere with their FIRST AMENDMENT rights to FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION. They bristle at the notion of state bar associations regulating the private affairs of consenting adults. Nevertheless, attorneys are increasingly being disciplined for becoming sexually involved with clients, and state bar associations are drafting clearer and more stringent rules against attorney-client sexual contact. Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, for example, in 1987, revoked the license of an attorney in part because he had sex with a client (In re Hallows, 136 Wis. 2d 72, 401 N.W.2d 557). The attorney, the court argued, was “placing his interests above” those of his client. In 1990, the same court for the first time suspended the license of a criminal lawyer who had sex with a client (In re Ridgeway, 158 Wis. 2d 452, 462 N.W.2d 671). Oregon and Minnesota have adopted outright bans on attorney-client sexual contact. Rule 1.8(k) of the Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct, which became effective July 1, 1994, forbids attorney-client sexual contact during the conduct of a professional legal relationship. It allows exceptions to the rule only for relationships beginning before legal representation has commenced or after it has ended. In the case of clients that are organizations rather than individuals, an attorney may not have sexual contact with any member of the client organization directly overseeing the case.

FURTHER READINGS

Awad, Abed. 1998. “Attorney-Client Sexual Relations.” Journal of the Legal Profession 22 (annual): 131–91.

Kane, Andrew W., et al. 1992. “Attorney Sexual Misconduct.” American Journal of Family Law 6 (fall): 191–95.

Shirey, William K. 1999. “Dealing with the Profession’s ‘Dirty Little Secret’: A Proposal for Regulating Attorney-Client Sexual Relations.” Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics 13 (fall): 131–60.

Struzzi, Melissa A. 1999. “Sex Behind the Bar: Should Attorney-Client Sexual Relations be Prohibited?” Duquesne Law Review 37 (summer): 637–57.

by millions of dollars (In re Myerson, 182A.D. 2d 242, 588 N.Y.S.2d 142 [N.Y. App. Div.1992]).

Many types of attorney misconduct involve a conflict of interest on the part of the attorney. A conflict of interest arises when an attorney puts personal interests ahead of professional responsibilities to the client. The model rules specify the potential for conflict of interest in many different situations. Thus, for example, an attorney who by representing one client adversely affects another client has a conflict of interest and is guilty of misconduct. Conflict of interest rules also forbid an attorney to enter into a business transaction with a client unless the client is fully aware of how the transaction will affect his or her LEGAL REPRESENTATION and agrees to the transaction in writing. Similarly, an attorney is guilty of misconduct if he or she makes a deal with the client for acquisition of the book, film, or media rights to the client’s story. Providing a client with financial assistance also introduces a conflict of interest into the attorney-client relationship.

If an attorney is related to another attorney as parent, child, sibling, or spouse, that attorney may not represent a client in opposition to the related attorney except when given consent to do so by the client. This type of conflict of interest has become increasingly common as more women enter the legal profession and the number of marriages between attorneys grows. State bar associations, such as that of Michigan, have held that these guidelines also apply to lawyers who are living together or dating but are not married. The potential for conflict of interest when the opposing attorneys are married or romantically involved is clear. Imagine a woman representing a client in a personal injury lawsuit seeking millions of dollars worth of damages from a manufacturer, with her husband representing the manufacturer. As a couple, they have a monetary interest in gaining a large settlement from the manufacturer, thereby giving the husband an incentive to lose his case. Given this conflict of interest, the couple is obligated to reveal to their clients the fact that they are married. If the clients agree to go ahead with the case regardless of the conflict of interest, then the attorneys may decide to continue their representation.

Special examples of conflict of interest have arisen in cases involving indigent defendants who must use publicly provided defense attorneys. In many jurisdictions, it is considered misconduct for an attorney to refuse court appointment as a public service defender for a poor client, even when a spouse’s legal associate or firm is involved on the opposing side of the case. Normally, for example, state bar associations allow a district attorney to prosecute persons defended by partners or associates of the district attorney’s spouse as long as the client is notified of the situation; similarly, they will allow a district attorney’s spouse to defend persons prosecuted by other members of the district attorney’s staff. Nevertheless, in a 1992 case, Haley v. Boles, 824 S.W.2d 796, the Texas Court of Appeals found that a conflict of interest gave a court-appointed attorney grounds to refuse appointment as a public defender for a poor client. The prosecutor was married to the court-appointed counsel’s law partner, creating a potential conflict of interest. According to the court’s decision, a poor defendant who must rely on a public defender has fewer choices for legal representation than a defendant who can afford to employ her or his own attorney. Therefore, an attorney who has a conflict of interest must be able to refuse to represent a client as a public defender without being charged with misconduct, thereby ensuring that the client receives legal representation free of a conflict of interest.

How to Define Legal Misconduct | Common Legal Questions

Any breach of the trust by the attorney that underlies the relationship between that attorney and the client can be considered misconduct. For example, an attorney is often called upon to hold or transfer money for a client, and in this situation, the client places an extraordinary amount of trust in the lawyer. Any misuse of the client’s money by the attorney—called misappropriation of client funds—constitutes a serious breach of trust and a gross example of misconduct. This offense includes stealing from the client, mingling the attorney’s money with that of the client, and controlling client funds without authorization. The model rules require that funds given to a lawyer by a client be kept in an account separate from the lawyer’s own account.

To encourage clients to inform their attorneys of all details relevant to a case, ethical codes also entrust attorneys with preserving the confidentiality of the information their clients give them; any failure to do so constitutes misconduct on the part of the attorney. The law protects attorney-client confidentiality with the principle of ATTORNEY-CLIENT PRIVILEGE, and under very few circumstances is it lawful to breach this privilege of confidentiality. The privilege may be revoked to prevent the client from “committing a criminal act that … is likely to result in imminent death or substantial bodily harm”(Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 1.6 1983), or to respond to civil or criminal proceedings made by the client against the attorney. Except for these rare cases, only the client may waive the attorney-client privilege of confidentiality.

Sexual contact between an attorney and a client is almost always considered a breach of conduct. Sexual contact represents a clear breach of attorney-client trust. It is also a clear conflict of interest because it can easily result in the attorney’s placing his or her own needs above those of the client, and it makes it difficult for the attorney to argue the client’s case dispassionately.

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Divorce Attorney

How to Find a Good Divorce Lawyer | Terry & Roberts

When you’re going through a divorce and looking for an attorney, remember that you don’t have to hire the first attorney you meet. Choosing the right lawyer to guide you through your divorce is one of the most important divorce-related decisions you’ll make.

Even if you’ve received a referral to a family law attorney from a friend or another lawyer, you should still do your homework; check the attorney’s qualifications, and make sure he or she has enough experience to handle your case.

There are lots of lawyers out there, and many advertise themselves as “family law” or “divorce” attorneys. However, family law is a subspecialty that involves complex legal principles, which take time and experience to master. Within the area of family law, there are even further subspecialties, such as custody lawinternational custody law, guardianship, and an area of the law involving Qualified Domestic Relations Orders (QDROs), which are special orders required to divide certain types of retirement benefits.

In addition, there are various financial aspects of divorce, including:

  • financial disclosure requirements between spouses
  • restraining orders prohibiting spouses from changing beneficiary designations or transferring assets before and during the divorce
  • alimony (how to calculate income available for alimony and the special factors courts consider when determining setting payments)
  • child support (how to calculate child support in your state)
  • the division of property and assets, including real property, collectibles, venture capital interests, stock option portfolios, good will, or other business interests, and
  • the division of retirement benefits.

There is a vast body of law (which will vary from state to state) that applies to these issues. These laws are frequently updated or overturned by the legislature and/or the courts, so you’ll need to find an attorney that’s familiar with the new rules and cases that apply to your divorce.

If you have a very simple case, with minimal financial issues and no children, you may feel comfortable hiring a less experienced family law attorney. However, if you’re facing a contested divorce case that involves substantial assets, complicated financial questions, or a complex custody dispute, you should look for an experienced attorney that specializes in family law and has experience with the particular issues involved in your case. For tips about hiring a divorce lawyer to handle some or all of your divorce case, see our article, Hiring a Divorce Lawyer.

Ten Questions to Ask a Divorce Attorney

How to Choose the Best Divorce Lawyer for You in Northern Virginia - Roop  Law

We’ve provided a few questions you might consider asking during your initial interview with a family law attorney. These may help you determine whether this lawyer is right for your case.

1. Do you specialize in divorces, or are divorces just a part of your practice? How long have you been practicing family law? How many family law cases have you handled? Are you a “certified family law specialist?”

2. What is your strategy for my case? How long will it take to resolve my case?

3. How long do you take to return phone calls? How do I get a hold of you if there is an emergency? What do you consider to be an emergency?

4. Will anyone else in your office be working on my case? What experience do they have? Can I meet them?

5. How will you charge me? What is your hourly rate? Do you charge for the time I spend with other lawyers, with paralegals, and/or with secretaries? If so, at what rate? What is your retainer up front?

6. What costs (other than your own) do you expect will be involved (for example, for private investigators, forensic accountants, physicians, and/or psychologists), and how will you charge me for them?

7. What’s your estimate of the total cost of this divorce? (Do not be alarmed that most divorce attorneys will resist answering this question as the cost of the divorce depends greatly upon the level of conflict in your case. However, the way attorneys answer this question may help you size them up. An honest attorney will often answer that it is difficult to estimate the costs in advance. An attorney that gives you an unrealistically low amount may just be trying to get your business).

Divorce Lawyers | Affordable Divorce Attorneys | Carosella

8. Do you allow me to negotiate directly with my spouse? How can I keep the cost of my divorce down? Are there tasks that I can do myself to cut down on the amount you will charge me?

9. Based on what you know about my case, how would you predict a judge would rule on it?

10. What can you do to help me understand the tax effect of the decisions I will have to make?

16 Lawyers Share Their Best Law Firm Marketing Tips

The Inconvenient Reality of Law Firm Security Challenges

So you need to get more clients for your law firm. You’ve heard online marketing works, but you’re not sure where to start. Between Google, Facebook, PPC, SEO, and online reviews, there’s a lot to consider—and there are plenty of consultants who will claim that their solution is best.

How do you know what law firm marketing tactics will work for you? How do you know what to invest in and what to ignore?

We’ve published several tips from individual law firms here, and we hope you find them useful.

1. Take advantage of free law firm marketing options

“I think you should maximize your free marketing opportunities before spending a lot of money on marketing. For example, claiming your listings, getting a 10.0 Avvo rating, etc.”

– Heather Meglino, Managing Partner and Owner at Meglino Morse Law

2. Position yourself as a thought leader

“For us, (and I work in digital marketing as well as law) it’s all about internal and external SEO, and inbound marketing. The content (whether it’s videos on your site, monthly newsletters, etc.) will depend on your ideal/target clients. Setting yourself up as a subject matter expert through inbound is the most cost-effective lead generation tool out there!”

– Mandy Woodland, Owner at Mandy Woodland Law, PLC Inc.

3. Create educational content and promote it in the right places

“For our law firm, we have found that we gain the most traction through writing timely educational articles about estate planning-related issues. While we post these articles to our firm’s website and social media sites, we have found the most immediate results from posting to LinkedIn.”

– Matthew J. Tuller, Principal Attorney and Owner at the Law Office of Matthew J. Tuller

4. Build meaningful relationships with clients

“We are located in a very small, conservative resort town. Business is still based on relationships—who you know and how you are perceived as contributing to the community. A website is essential for credibility and general info, but networking and relationships are key.

It will be interesting to see how this changes as the current face-to-face generation phases out and the face-to-phone generation phases in.”

– Karen Klukiewicz, COO at Patrick Neale & Associates

5. Focus on securing referrals

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“I have a referral-based practice. It’s important that my website be modern, clean, and work on both desktop and mobile.”

– Danielle Huntley, Principal at Huntley Inc.

“We do a lot of cross-referrals and have a very strong referral network. We also blog, speak at symposiums, teach, and are regular guests on talk radio.”

– Leslie Lelii, Office Manager at Virtus Law, PLLC

6. Take steps to multiply your referrals

“[T]ry to categorize the best groups your referrals come from and hone in on them. Develop relationships with your referral sources. Reach out, thank them, recognize their contributions. The referrals will not only keep coming, but will multiply.”

– Sean Robichaud, Lead Counsel at Robichaud’s

7. Don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth

“The best marketing is word-of-mouth. I still get about half of my clients from word-of-mouth. Past clients are the best source of getting new clients!”

– Jonathan G. Stein, owner, Law Offices of Jonathan G. Stein

8. Prioritize online reviews

“Our paid and free profiles on Avvo actually seem to be the best return on investment, combined with the intense level of effort that we have put into building our website and newsletters into a real library of resources for people who are trying to learn more about estate planning. SEO of our website and making sure the many, many, many directories that are out there have accurate listings for us seem to be the next most useful steps.

We have been blessed with a ton of great reviews, and I hear all the time that the reviews were one reason even people who were actually referred by another client or a professional adviser made their appointments.”

– Loraine DiSalvo, Partner at Morgan & DiSalvo, P.C.

“My free profile with Avvo has … been a truly great marketing tool. I have received so many inquiries for legal help and many have become clients. I also utilize a strong referral network, and I am very involved in my state and local bar associations as well as the ABA where I have speaking opportunities. I’m still working on my website.”

– Kari Petrasek, Attorney at Petrasek Law, PLLC

9. Claim your presence online, but also focus on your community

“I do everything I can to claim my online presence with websites, directories, and assorted profiles. I do get several calls from having a good Avvo profile and a premium (paid) profile.

Otherwise, I pay little for advertising. We instead cultivate a good reputation in the community by sponsoring/supporting community events and organizations, personally networking within the community, and sending care packages to referral sources and others who seek to help us. We try to be very genuine in our approach and it has always worked for us.”

– Ruth Goldner, Attorney & Counselor at Goldner Deeg PLLC

10. Build a quality website that convinces visitors to choose you

“I’ve found that the best leads come straight from my website. People Google “Kingston criminal defence lawyer” and I come up in the top three results. I think I have a good website compared to the other people who also come up on the first page and it draws people in to contact me. By this time they’ve already checked me out and, I think, like what they’ve seen. I’ve found these clients are easy to land, even on the first phone call, with no follow up.

I’ve found that referrals from lead generating sites are less committed. They’re often shopping around or are just looking for free legal advice, it seems.”

– Simon Borys, Principal lawyer at Simon Borys

11. Invest in SEO …

“For online marketing there are two primary principles: Have a valuable website, and create valuable content. If you demonstrate your value instead of describing it, potential clients will flock to you.

At our firm, Palace Law, we have taken steps to build our internal SEO and external SEO. We have videos on our website introducing who we are and offering free information to potential clients. The latter (often called freemium services) is one of the most important things lawyers can do. Offer up valuable information to potential clients for free, form contracts, legal research, and instructional videos, and you’ll find that this not only increases your SEO, but also draws in a lot of clients. We also advertise and maintain profiles on paid and free sites.

– Jordan Couch, Attorney at Palace Law

12. … But know that it’s a long game

“I like SEO marketing, in that it helps keep you top of mind for people for when they need you, but I find the issue with that is timing.

People only retain a lawyer when they need a lawyer. [Legal services are] not an impulse buy item. So unless your SEO marketing is catching [potential clients] just when they need you, it doesn’t seem to generate a lot of immediate, direct ROI.

I think when people need a lawyer, they either think of you because you’re top of mind because of your previous SEO marketing, or they just Google you, which is why I think my website is the best tool.”

– Simon Borys, Principal lawyer at Simon Borys

13. Target local prospects with digital ad campaigns

“Our firm is currently running a Google Ad campaign for our surrounding counties—any time someone performs a Google search for family law attorneys in our county, they see our website. It has produced a huge surge in new client intakes.”

– Ebony Anderson, Paralegal at McCabe Russell

14. Try QR codes

“One fun thing we have had success with is running traditional print ads with scannable QR Codes [that lead] to our website … After each of our ads, we always seem to get business through the QR link.”

– Seth Kruse, Associate Attorney at Kasper & Associates, PLLC

15. Get onto social media

“Social media marketing is the future for lawyers. Most people perform research on their smartphones. I get one to two significant cases per year from paid marketing efforts on Facebook for a minimal investment.”

– Barry Walker, Managing Partner at Walker Law

16. Consider your practice area

“[Questions about marketing strategy] really can’t be answered meaningfully without knowing what areas you practice in, and without thinking about how your clients find lawyers. My practice is limited to representing other lawyers—90% or more of my business comes from referrals. A good website, occasional blogging, some Twitter use—these may be helpful, but you still need to differentiate yourself from all the other lawyers buying Adwords, sending out email newsletters, etc. What works for a lawyer in one practice area may not work for someone with a different practice.”

– Eric Cooperstein, Attorney at the Law Office of Eric T. Cooperstein, PLLC

When it comes to law firm marketing, find what works for you

Investing in marketing can get your law firm plenty of new clients—but it needs to be done right. Consider your practice area and your clients, and what works best for them (and you) before spending your time and money on any law firm marketing efforts.

To conclude, here are a few overarching themes from everyone’s advice above:

  • Invest in your online presence. A well-designed website and strong online reviews can help potential clients find you and choose to hire you.
  • Invest in SEO. Investing in SEO for your law firm website can do a lot to help people find you.
  • Build your referral networks. Build relationships with your referral sources, and be active in your community to help gain more referrals.
What To Consider When Choosing A Law Firm For Your Business - Mike Gingerich

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7 qualities every good lawyer should have

The skills you need for your ideal career are something that you can work on and develop over time. As they say: practice makes perfect! Here are a few that you should consider working on if you aspire to be a successful lawyer:

1) Good communication skills

Lawyers must be orally articulate, have good written communication skills and also be good listeners. In order to argue convincingly in the courtroom before juries and judges, good public speaking skills are essential. Communication and speaking skills can be developed during your studies by taking part in activities such as mooting or general public speaking.

Lawyers must also be able to write clearly, persuasively and concisely, as they must produce a variety of legal documents.

But it’s not all about projection. To be able to analyze what clients tell them or follow a complex testimony, a lawyer must have good listening skills.

2) Judgement 

The ability to draw reasonable, logical conclusions or assumptions from limited information is essential as a lawyer.

You must also be able to consider these judgments critically so that you can anticipate potential areas of weakness in your argument that must be fortified against.

Similarly, you must be able to spot points of weakness in an opposition’s argument. Decisiveness is also a part of the judgment. There will be a lot of important judgment calls to make and little time for sitting on the fence.

3) Analytical skills

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Both the study and practice of law involve absorbing large quantities of information, then having to distil it into something manageable and logical.

At times, there will be more than one reasonable conclusion, or more than one precedent applicable to resolving a situation.

A lawyer must therefore have the evaluative skills in order to choose which is the most suitable.

4) Research skills

Similarly, being able to research quickly and effectively is essential to understanding your clients, their needs, and to preparing legal strategies.

Preparing legal strategies requires absorbing and comprehending large amounts of information, then distilling them down into something manageable and useful.

5) People skills

Law is not an abstract practice. Irrelevant of how well someone does academically, at the end of the day lawyers work with people, on behalf of people, and the decisions that are made affect people’s lives.

They must be personable, persuasive and able to read others. This allows them to gauge juror’s reactions and the honesty of witnesses.

This allows them to decide upon the best approach to take in order to achieve the desired outcome: either client taking their advice or reaching a favorable negotiation with the opposition.

6) Perseverance

3 Signs of a Good Lawyer -

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other.” Even studying to become a lawyer takes a great deal of perseverance and commitment – and that’s before you even start work!

Typically, a lawyer will do an undergraduate law degree, an LPC, and then a training contract before qualifying. Most will also complete a vacation scheme or some other kind of work experience.

When working on a case, you must have the perseverance to complete the work necessary to drive it to a successful finish.

7) Creativity

The very top lawyers are not only logical and analytical, but they display a great deal of creativity in their problem-solving.

The best solution is not always the most obvious and in order to outmaneuver your challenger it is often necessary to think outside the box.

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5 Types of Divorce Cases Divorce Attorneys Handle

5 Types of Divorce Cases Divorce Attorneys Handle

There are several types of divorce cases divorce attorneys handle; look for one with plenty of experience in handling your type of case.

By Charlie Brown Updated: August 29, 2018Categories: Divorce ProcessLegal Issues

5 Types of Divorce Cases Divorce Attorneys Handle

The very word “Divorce” gives us goosebumps and it’s the last thing that we want to go through. Divorce can be as legally complicated as it is emotionally charged. Just as the word divorce can make you panic, and dealing with the legal process is similarly a challenge. There can be variations in divorce law from place to place, and your divorce is as unique as your marriage. Your divorce is a delicate matter that needs to be handled with care. And there are many types of cases that divorce attorneys handle; look for one with plenty of experience in handling your type of case.

Why Consulting a Divorce Lawyer Matters

A divorce on its own can be difficult enough without adding anything that can make things even worse. When you sit across from your partner for divorce negotiations, things can get heated. This is where a good divorce lawyer’s skills and experience can be invaluable. With their knowledge of family law as well as how the judges at your family court are likely to rule, an experienced divorce lawyer can offer reasonable choices for settling your divorce – and settling it out of court if possible.

Nobody gets married thinking that their love will end in divorce. Sometimes, a fairy-tale marriage ends up becoming a cautionary tale of what not to do during divorce if you want to avoid financial, physical, and emotional distress. The divorce process can emotionally drain all the members of the family unless you and your spouse agree to take the high road, treating each other with respect and cooperation. If you’ve decided to split, you’ll need the help of a good divorce lawyer from a reputable firm – a lawyer who shares your philosophy and can guide you through this challenging time of your life.

During the divorce proceedings, you’ll have to deal with a lot of paperwork. Not being in a proper state of mind you are likely to find all this quite confusing. Every form can be confusing, and once it goes to the court, the judge will rely on it heavily, so it is vital that each form is filled out correctly. It is here where a divorce lawyer can help. They will guide you in filling out every form effectively and accurately to avoid any unnecessary obstacles.

Types of Divorce Cases a Divorce Lawyer Handles

Below are the different kinds of divorce cases that a divorce attorney handle,

  • Uncontested Divorce: This is ideal because in this case both the husband and the wife will work with their lawyers to create their divorce agreement. There is no trial in an uncontested divorce because both parties agree on the terms. An uncontested divorce is the simplest, quickest, and least expensive way to divorce.
  • Contested Divorce: This can be the most difficult kind of divorce since the husband and wife do not agree on major issues like child custody, spousal support, or property division. The parties’ lawyers will still try to negotiate a settlement, but if the parties dig in their heels, the case will go to court and a judge will rule on all contested issues. Those who file for a contested divorce may face hearings and settlement negotiations to resolve the issues. In case no agreement is made then going for a court trial indeed will be necessary. Although you are allowed to represent yourself in court, this is not recommended as you will be held to the same standards as the lawyer on the other side of your case.
  • Collaborative Divorce: This divorce includes each party working with their own collaborative lawyer to reach an agreement without the possibility of going to court; if the case doesn’t settle, the lawyer must resign and the parties start all over from the beginning with new lawyers. In a collaborative divorce, both parties need to be cooperative and willing to negotiate in good faith to create a settlement that works for both parties. Full disclosure is essential to ensure that the negotiations are fair. In this case, the husband and the wife meet with their respective lawyer to negotiate an agreement. The “collaborative divorce team” often includes a neutral financial expert, parenting specialist, and divorce coach to facilitate agreement.
  • Default Divorce: When one party files for a divorce and the other does not respond, the court can grant a default divorce. The judge can grant the divorce despite the other party not taking part in the proceedings of the court. The court can give a default divorce if the spouse cannot be found, never returns from a foreign country, or leaves the jurisdiction without reason.
  • Summary Divorce: Simplified or summary divorce is quite common in some states – especially for short marriages (those that last less than five years). Most couples who get a summary divorce have insignificant joint debts, no children, and little property to divide. You can download the paperwork and forms you’ll need to complete a divorce and fill them out – but each of you should have your own lawyer read the agreement to ensure that it is legal and that you understand exactly what you’re agreeing to.

No matter if you are at the start or in the middle of a divorce, it’s wise to consult an experienced divorce lawyer for answers to your most pressing questions and concerns. Along with being your advocate, a knowledgeable lawyer will also offer you objective advice about which of your goals are obtainable and worth pursuing – and which are not. Hire the best divorce lawyer for your unique circumstances to reduce your stress during this difficult time.