Here's the scenario: you are facing a family law case, maybe a divorce
or modification or contempt. Maybe you are planning to file it. Maybe
you are facing one filed against you. Now comes the daunting task of choosing
a lawyer. There are hundreds out there. How do you choose the right lawyer and firm?
There are many good metrics to help you make a decision. Tonight I'm
going to write about four of them.
You want to hire a firm that has been around for a long time. Longevity
is indicitive of many things including that the firm has done well enough
to still be here, not shut down, facing foreclosure or in bankruptcy.
That says alot.
The practice of law is very difficult. Except for professional sports,
there is no another profession where some one is well paid to make you
lose. If the firm has been around for a long time and still going strong,
they can't have lost much.
The size of the firm you hire matters greatly. Tiny firms (one to three
attorneys) don't have the breadth, talent and person power to accomplish
a lot with your case. They get tied down easily. They are quickly stuck.
Firms that have only attorneys and a secretary or two are far too dependent
on expensive billers to deliver any value. They cost too much. Paralegals
are a must for any legitimate, viable firm these days. Paralegals bill
less per hour, sometimes significantly less than the attorneys so they
can accomplish a lot on a case for less money.
The firm you hire should be on top of the ever evolving technology curve.
They must have a case management program. If they don't, you should
immediately run away. These guys are still in the stone age. That's
They should have video conferencing capabilities, something far more indepth
than Skype or Facetime. The practice of law is not a game. It is not recreation.
Their hardware and software should not be developed for recreational use.
The lawyers and support staff should be able to access their server or
cloud storage from anywhere in the world. These days the attorneys and
support staff need to be able to help you wherever they are and wherever
you are. They can't do that if they can't access your electronic file.
The firm you hire needs to have a lot of family law cases. You'd like
to think that the firm will only think about you and work on your case,
but economically, is that true? If you were the only person that firm
took care of you would have to pay the salary for every person working
there and the mortgage or rent and the utilities and, etc. etc. You don't
want that, obviously.
Assume now that the firm has 20 cases including yours. While you are no
longer bearing every dime of the firm's overhead, you are still bearing
1/20th of it. And unless the lawyer is practicing out of the trunk of
his car, that can be a lot, too.
You need a firm that isn't dependent upon your wherewithal for their
survival. That necessarily means that the firm has to have significant
volume so that they only work on your case when your case needs it, not
when their light bill or car payment is due.
That's four metrics to consider. There are others.
I've written about them, too.
Make your choice carefully, intelligently, deliberatively. And handle that
family law case the right way. Make the right choice.