A local attorney recently boasted on Linked in that she is experienced in International Family Law and Hague Convention International Child Abduction cases.
I know this attorney well enough to know that she has observed two international depositions and sat through one international hearing ever. Now she is advertising to the unsuspecting public that she is experienced in International Family Law.
The State Bar of Georgia’s ethics rules are quite clear. Attorneys may not falsely advertise their experience and competence. Lying to the public is severely frowned upon.
So what can parents do when searching for an International Family Law attorney?
If someone tells you they have experience, check them out.
1) Ask them how many International Family Law cases in which they have been lead counsel. Young attorneys often tag along with a seasoned expert to watch them work. The key is being the lead counsel, not the tag along.
2) Ask them how often they have appeared in Federal Court on International Family Law matters. These cases can also be tried in State Court, but the vast majority take place in Federal Court.
3) Search them up in Federal case reporter databases. How many, if any, of their cases have been reported?
4) Search how often their cases have been cited by other cases.
5) How far up the Federal Court system have they gone with their cases? Do you find reported cases on the appellate level.
Now to the rarefied air:
6) Are they admitted to the United States Supreme Court?
7) Have they ever filed a Petition for Certiorari or defended one?
8) Has their Petition ever been accepted by the United States Supreme Court?
9) Have they argued before the United States Supreme Court?
and all but impossible to find:
10) Have they won a unanimous decision on an International Family Law case before the United States Supreme Court? (This one is kind of unfair because I am the only living attorney to have done so.)
So you get where I’m coming from about posers. International Family Law and Hague Convention International Child Abduction cases are not easy and the parents involved in those cases deserve someone extremely competent and experienced, not someone who is so desperate for work that they will lie about their expertise in the hope of landing a a quick retainer.
Don’t settle for a poser. Your case is too important for that.
Michael practices in all of our offices: Marietta, Atlanta, Lawrenceville, Canton, Gainesville and Savannah and practices International Family Law and Hague Convention International Child Abduction throughout the Southeastern United States, all around the world and yes, even before the United States Supreme Court.