Tips to Choose the Right Attorney for You
No attorney is right for every case or for every client – the attorney who helped you buy your house might not be the right attorney to defend you in a criminal matter. The attorney that you hired to settle your personal injury claim is likely not the attorney who should help you settle your divorce.
The following tips will help you find an attorney that is the right fit for your unique circumstance:
Use A Specialist
Today, attorneys are as specialized as doctors. Most cases demand a level of expertise that limits an attorney to a few practice areas. A specialist will know the latest developments and legal nuances that could make the difference in the outcome of your case.
Attorneys with a specialized practice usually belong to professional associations for a certain field of law. An attorney who regularly handles dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or child custody matters might join the Metropolitan Denver Interdisciplinary Committee. An attorney who is committed to use teamwork and cooperation for their divorce clients will probably join the Colorado Collaborative Divorce Professionals. Professional association memberships also form relationships that assist in negotiations with other similarly specialized attorneys.
Many new attorneys are bright, motivated, and capable. If you have a smaller or simpler case, a newer attorney might be able to handle it well, and more economically than an experienced attorney. However, if you have a complex financial estate or family dynamic, you probably want to find an attorney who has experience dealing with such complexities.
Experienced attorneys can be expected to have skills to negotiate with other seasoned attorneys, value a complex case for settlement, and effectively make complex arguments. Experienced attorneys know the tendencies of local judges and adversaries, creating a cumulative wisdom for your case.
Most attorneys are honest, hardworking, and dedicated to their profession. However, there are some attorneys that fit the dishonest stereotype. Although an attorney can be a tough negotiator and aggressive advocate, your attorney should be strong without being deceitful or self-dealing. Viewing a law firm’s website can provide insight into the values and scope of the firm’s practice. In family law, an ethical and reputable attorney attempts to reduce conflict and settle cases wherever possible – little is gained from an attorney who antagonizes an already fraught situation for personal gain.
Another way to learn about a law firm’s reputation is to ask friends and family about attorneys that they have used in cases that are similar to yours. Are they happy with the representation they received? The best attorneys maintain a standard of integrity that result in clients telling their friends and family, “This is a law firm that you can trust.”
Choose Who Makes You Feel Comfortable
Open communication, mutual respect, and common strategy are all part of the rapport that clients should develop with their attorneys. Attorneys need to understand a client’s goals and clients need to understand that an attorney will evaluate whether their goals are achievable. The best family law attorneys are compassionate and committed to minimizing collateral damage that can accompany divorce, legal separation, or child custody issues.
Before you choose an attorney, use these tips to decide whether the attorney is qualified to represent you and understands your goals and values. All other things being equal, an attorney you feel comfortable working with is probably the attorney that you want to hire.
Written by Joanne Morando, Associate Attorney