Life is not always fair. No matter how careful and conscientious you are, things sometimes go wrong. The collapse of your marriage, child custody negotiations that turn sour, an accident that leaves you injured and unable to work—these are all situations that require the help and intervention of a lawyer.
The legal profession is broken down into a range of specialized fields. You want to retain the services of a lawyer who has handled many cases like yours. They should have extensive knowledge and experience in the legal precedents and statutes that govern your situation. To get the outcome you want, you must find the right lawyer for your case.
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Here is how you should go about finding the right attorney for your divorce, family law, or personal injury case. There are a few criteria that they all have in common.
Divorce is difficult for everyone involved in it. The dissolution of your marriage may generate feelings of anger, anxiety, and despair. But you cannot allow your emotions to overwhelm you. You must look after your material interests. A divorce attorney can help. Here a few things to consider when looking for such a lawyer.
It will be much easier to find the attorney who is right for you if you have a clear understanding of your needs and goals. To do so, you should first list the issues at play in your divorce. If you have children, then you may need a team of lawyers—one to handle your divorce and the other to deal with custody arrangements. If you own a business with your spouse, then you will need someone who knows how to carry out a business valuation. You will also need a firm with solid forensic accounting specialists on retainer, as you will need to track down and account for all assets owned by the business.
You should think about what specifically your lawyer is to do for you. If you and your spouse have both agreed to the divorce and do not have much joint property to divide, then you may only need your attorney’s guidance on filing paperwork. If you are anticipating a tough legal battle and extensive litigation, then you should hire a lawyer with a reputation for doing well in such cases.
You should also consider the cost. If you are going through a high net worth divorce, money may not be much of a hurdle. But if you are limited in the amount of money you can spend, it is important to bear this in mind when reviewing your options.
You should also think about the type of law firm that is right for you. You can work with a single lawyer or multiple lawyer firms. The circumstances of your case and your own temperament will determine which is right for you.
If you anticipate a smooth and straightforward divorce, it may be better to go with a small law practice. With a solo attorney, you will know exactly who is working on your case and will speak to the same person each time. The only downside is that you may need to wait days at a time for responses to your queries.
If you know that your divorce will be complicated and will probably need to go into litigation, it may be better to retain the services of a multi-lawyer firm. A few lawyers and paralegals will be assigned to your case. In most instances, you will be able to speak to someone at any time; and you can be reasonably assured that all of the issues in your case will be examined thoroughly and dealt with. A multi-lawyer firm can also be less expensive, as paralegals and less experienced lawyers will be billed at lower rates.
Do not go with the first lawyer you speak to or the first one who returns your call or email. You should visit multiple attorneys before deciding which one to hire. Some lawyers provide free initial consultations. Others will charge you for the first visit. This should not put you off. If you are charged for an initial consultation, you should get value for money. You should leave the consultation with some insight into divorce laws and a clear idea of various strategies you might pursue.
The aim of your initial consultation should be to understand how the attorney will pursue your case and what kind of service to expect from them. You should also leave the meeting with an estimate of the cost. Here are some questions you should ask the attorney:
Your feelings about the attorney after the initial consultation matters. A great deal is at stake, and you will need to work closely with your attorney to achieve an outcome that is favorable to you. It is important to feel comfortable with your lawyer. You should feel well-informed and empowered after the first meeting. You should feel as though the person you just spoke with will have your back and will pursue your goals with vigor and passion.
Many of the qualities of a good divorce lawyer carry over to a family law attorney. If you are in a struggle with your spouse over child custody, you should consider the criteria listed above. Here are a few more factors to take into account:
Child custody disputes are highly stressful. All kinds of unexpected issues can pop up as you negotiate a child custody arrangement. Things can get especially difficult if your ex has already entered a new relationship and they have a family of their own, or you find yourself in the same situation. What may start as a fairly smooth process can quickly turn ugly. Working with a family law practice that is close can be comforting. You may need assistance quickly, and you should be able to visit your lawyer personally to resolve an emergent issue.
This is especially important if you are pursuing sole custody for the safety of your child. If your spouse is abusive or leads a less than wholesome lifestyle, it may be in the best interest of your child for you to get sole custody. Most courts will not grant this unless they are presented with strong evidence that your spouse is not fit to be a parent. A family law firm that employs high-quality investigators will be able to gather the facts necessary to prove your claims.
This is an essential criterion for a family lawyer. You should hire a lawyer who is willing to take your calls and work to resolve issues on weekends and holidays. Misunderstandings, last-minute attempts to change the schedule, missed pick-ups and drop-offs—these are common occurrences during the Christmas season and may require the intervention of your lawyer. The latter should be willing to resolve such issues immediately after you call them.
You may be a careful and conscientious person. However, not everyone takes safety as seriously. If you have been injured in an accident caused by the negligence and recklessness of another person, then you should hold them accountable. A personal injury attorney will help you get the compensation you require.
Many of the qualities already listed in the sections above also apply to a personal injury attorney. You will certainly want to hire a law firm with a strong investigative arm. You will need to gather the facts and circumstances that led to the accident and you will need to establish the link between the behavior of the negligent party, the accident, and your injuries. A good private investigator will meet these goals.
In addition, you should look for the following in a personal injury lawyer:
A personal injury case involving a car crash differs from that involving a slip-and-fall or electrocution. It is better to have a personal injury lawyer who has handled numerous cases like yours and can anticipate the issues that will emerge during litigation. Such an attorney will also have subject-matter experts at hand who can carry out analyses, give expert testimony, and refute the claims of the other side.
A great many personal injury lawyers work on a no-win, no fee basis. Such attorneys only take cases they are confident of winning. For a personal injury lawyer, winning means a sizeable settlement. Lawyers who work on a no-win, no-fee basis have a vested interest in getting a good settlement, which means you have a good chance at receiving adequate compensation.