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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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Old 12-28-2005, 03:40 PM
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Default Good counsel?

Ok ... this seems to come up ALOT about ensuring one has a great lawyer or counsel.

Aside from the obvious when it comes to hiring good counsel via word of mouth ... what are other ways to test or ensure the lawyer you hired is of good caliber? After all, the lawyer and his ability to represent you can and more than likely will affect your life going forward.

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Old 12-28-2005, 08:09 PM
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This question does seem to come up quite a bit, but never seems to get answered

Perhaps it is because there are no "winners" in family law, everyone feels they "lost" something. I don't think the lawyers at the end of their cases get too many Thank You cards.

Just my 2 cents.
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Old 12-29-2005, 11:15 AM
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I'm not sure how to select a good laywer either. It seems like all of them have some good points and some bad. As was said I guess it is because no one can be a complete "winner" in situations such as divorce. And I think this is espeically so when children are involved.
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Old 12-29-2005, 01:15 PM
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I would have to agree with Grace and imarketing...... all I can add is ask the questions that your needing answers to, and the best thing you can do is go with your gut and hope you have made the right decision. Keep in mind that your lawyer may say or do something that is completely off the wall to you, but then later it will make sense. Don't keep second guessing yourself either, trust the decision you make.
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Old 12-29-2005, 04:37 PM
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Default The Bar?

What about the bar? Can they not dispense whether a lawyer has had several complaints and such.

Word of mouth ... obviously.

Gut feeling ... yep. That be a good one.

Years of experience? Apparently family law lawyers are a small group ... chances are that the longer a lawyer has been in the field ... the better known he may be to a judge.

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Old 12-29-2005, 05:21 PM
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Lexpert has a directory that rates the lawyers.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:33 AM
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I agree with hubby on following your instincts when selecting a lawyer. Chemistry is extremely important. You should feel comfortable with your lawyer and confident that he/she will properly convey your position to opposing counsel or a judge.

As far as experience, in my opinion, prospects should focus more on the kind of experience a lawyer has rather than how long a lawyer has been practising. I know a lawyer who was called to the bar in 2000 and has more knowledge and experience than some lawyers who have been practising for 20+ years, and I think his web sites and divorce forums show it! (You know who you are!! )

Whether a judge knows a lawyer makes absolutely no difference on the outcome of a court appearance. Each case is different and the judge is only going to consider the facts of the case and what information is presented to him/her. Obviously, the way your lawyer communicates with the judge and the preparation of your materials is important, but the fact that your lawyer has appeared before the same judge 100 times before is irrelevant.


Last edited by Lindsay; 01-03-2006 at 12:15 PM.
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Old 01-03-2006, 10:48 PM
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I copied this from Jeff's web site. Thought it may help.

9 Important Points to Consider When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer
Hiring the right divorce lawyer is one of the most important decisions you must make during your divorce. You do not want to hire the wrong lawyer, as it is difficult, time-consuming and expensive to change lawyers. Here are 9 important points to consider before you hire a divorce lawyer:

Important Point #1: Service. Do you feel that the lawyer wants to provide you with the help you need? Or do you get the impression that he is looking for bigger fish to fry and that you are just a small fish in the ocean?

Important Point #2: Availability. Is the lawyer easily accessible by telephone, fax and e-mail? Does he get back to you promptly? Is he available in the evening for you? Or is he found almost as easily as the Loch Ness Monster?

Important Point #3: Attention. Does the lawyer have so many clients that he cannot provide you with the personal care and attention you deserve? Or does he limit his services to a few select clients who receive the best he has to offer?

Important Point #4: Expertise. Does the lawyer only practice family law? Or does he spread himself thin by trying to be a "jack of all trades" so that he can provide whatever legal services people need?

Important Point #5: Compassion and Understanding. Does the lawyer actually care about his clients? Or are his clients simply "files" that he works on?

Important Point #6: Comfort. Do you feel comfortable with the lawyer? Or is his ego so big that it barely fits into the room?

Important Point #7: Testimonials. Have you read comments from clients who were pleased with the lawyer's efforts? Or are you only assuming the lawyer can do what he says?

Important Point #8: Academic Background. Has the lawyer won academic awards? Has the lawyer graduated from one of the best law schools in the country? Has the lawyer pursued graduate studies in law? Or has the lawyer just done the minimum necessary to get by?

Important Point #9: Authority. Has the lawyer published several articles in respected publications or been interviewed as an expert on T.V.?

Last edited by Lindsay; 01-04-2006 at 10:03 AM.
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Old 04-16-2009, 10:05 AM
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There is the potential for family law lawyers to use the information that you have given them about your financial situation(from financial statements, from the introductory consultation etc) to determine how long you can afford to litigate for.

They know how much equity you have in your home, how much RRSPS you have, your bank balances, your income, any other income earners in your house, whether you have well-off family who could be a potential source of income.

If you are wavering between fighting or paying the bare minimum to get to mediation/settlement,a crafty lawyer will steer you to go the hard(read:expensive) way. You have to insist to a potential lawyer that you will not play the game of two letters per week, motion every month, teleconference calls between each side's lawyer etc). Just send the message that you are not going to fight.

Ask a potential lawyer if they would consent to allowing you to type your affidavits, serve documents instead of paying process server, file documents at court instead of the process server, office staff. I am sure you won't be their "dream client" but you will save major bucks, and you won't be seen as a lost, stressed, helpless client that will pay "anything" to make it go away.

Another option is to retain a collaborative lawyer from the beginning. I wish I had started with a collaborative lawyer from the beginning. My situation was perhaps too tense to make that completely successful but it would have been easier than litigating every. single. thing.

Also, make sure you ask your potential lawyer if they are near capacity for clients. Being too busy is not always a good sign for a lawyer. He/she could be over their head. There is nothing worse than not getting a response to an important question prior to a weekend and having to go blind dealing with your ex about the kids,access, etc. and then getting heck from your lawyer on the Monday for doing what you did.

Also, no matter how rude or grumpy the office staff is at the lawyer, be SUPER nice to them. They may be able to answer a quick question for you if the lawyer is in court or in an appointment.
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