Reprinted with permission from Susan Klueppel and Mary Brown, Attorneys at Law
Finding a lawyer who will provide good legal representation requires a certain amount of homework and research.
The following is a list of possible resources available to anyone seeking an attorney:
- Referrals: From friends and/or other professionals who are familiar with a particular attorney’s work and reputation.
- Bar Association referrals: State or local associations will provide names of attorneys who are experienced in divorce/family law.
- Newspaper or telephone ads: Look for ads that list names but do not provide any substantive information about the listed professional.
Once the client has the name(s) of attorney(s), the next step is to phone that attorney’s office to ascertain:
- Whether or not an initial fee for consultation is charged;
- What the attorney’s hourly fee is;
- Whether or not the attorney’s schedule will enable him/her to handle the case.
The Initial Meeting
During the initial meeting, the client should ask the attorney:
- Does he/she concentrate in family law;
- What experience he/she has had in similar cases;
- What, if any, retainer is charged and how charges are billed against it;
- If another member of the firm will be handling the case, and, if so, who that attorney is.
During the initial meeting, the attorney should ask the client:
- Preliminary questions to ascertain general information and data
- Specific questions to ascertain factors necessary to determine issues and likely resolutions.
The attorney should spend anywhere from 1/2 to two hours in this initial meeting to make a thorough preliminary assessment of the client’s case.
The client must not expect ‘guarantees’ from an attorney. It is impossible for an attorney to predict the outcome of a case, and a client should be wary of one who offers such a guarantee!