Ohio has thousands of lawyers. How do you find the right one to handle your divorce? At Lawrence Law Office, our divorce attorneys have helped hundreds of people dissolve their marriages, and we know how vital it is to have the right lawyer by your side. Below, we offer some tips for finding an attorney who is the right fit.
Look for Lawyers Who Focus on Divorce
A lawyer who passes the bar exam in our state can practice in almost any area of law. However, most tend to focus after a while on certain areas: DUI or criminal law, personal injury, wills, Social Security disability, etc. Although all lawyers are competent, they might not be up-to-date on the most recent changes in the law. They might also need to do more research to fully understand a different practice area.
We recommend focusing on hiring a lawyer who handles mostly divorce or family law issues. Someone who represented you on a DUI might be a terrific lawyer, but he’s probably the wrong choice to represent you in a divorce action.
Review a Lawyer’s Website
You can learn a lot about a lawyer by looking at their website. A professional website with helpful, informative articles shows that the lawyer cares about their presentation and values clear communication with clients. If a website has embarrassing grammatical errors or is just plain ugly to look at, then the lawyer probably is less concerned with how he comes across to others. That attitude could work against you.
The website should also give some clue as to the lawyer’s breadth of experience. Professionals like doctors and entrepreneurs have unique needs when it comes to divorce. The same is true of couples with high net worth or large assets. The website should inform the reader whether a lawyer is prepared to handle divorce for those types of clients.
Schedule a Consultation with an Attorney
A website only has so much information. You will learn a lot more by meeting with an attorney in person to ask questions and learn more about the lawyer’s experience.
How many consultations should you schedule? You might want to schedule 5 and go to all 5. By contrast, you might schedule one and only contact another lawyer if you didn’t like the first.
A consultation will go by quickly. You should come well prepared with any questions you have so that you don’t waste time fumbling around. Bring a notepad so you can jot down the lawyer’s answers to review later, if necessary.
Each person asks different questions. You should certainly ask about fees. A lawyer wants to hear information from you, such as how many children you have, whether you or your spouse work, etc. This information will all be relevant in a divorce.
Trust Your Instinct
How do you know you have found the right lawyer? There is no way to know for sure, but we recommend going with your instinct. Ask yourself during the consultation, “How comfortable do I feel?” and “Do I understand what the lawyer is saying?” You should have felt comfortable with all the staff, including the people at the front desk.
You will have a more successful divorce when you can communicate freely with your attorney. If you feel intimidated or confused, then you might schedule another consultation with a different attorney.
Price is always a concern, and you should never hire a lawyer you can’t afford. At the same time, don’t simply hire a lawyer because his fees are the lowest.
Formalize the Attorney-Client Relationship
If you decide to hire a lawyer, you will need to sign an engagement letter or fee agreement. This document lays out each side’s rights and responsibilities. It also establishes that an attorney-client relationship now exists, which means you are entitled to ethical representation from your lawyer.
Read this document carefully and raise any concerns before you sign. In particular, pay close attention to the discussion of fees, including the costs of divorce and any witness expenses. Some divorces require experts in the form of psychologists and forensic accountants, and you want to know about those expenses upfront.
Give Lawrence Law Office a Call
Linda J. Lawrence and Rodd S. Lawrence have worked as Ohio divorce lawyers for decades. To schedule a consultation, call our firm today.