So why will people come to hear you speak? In many cases they are looking for answers to questions that they have and they believe that you have done the research that they would have to do otherwise. When you are giving speeches like this, you need to make sure that you take the time to do your homework. You are going to have to anticipate the questions that your audience will have and make sure that you include the answers that they are looking for in the speech that you give. Let’s take a look at how you could give a speech about how to find a good divorce lawyer.
After deciding to get a divorce, figuring out how to find a good divorce lawyer to help you through the process is one of the most difficult decisions.
You’ll spend a lot of time with your divorce lawyer, and you’re entrusting your future to that person.
If you choose an inexperienced or incompetent lawyer, you could get unsatisfactory results with what you get out of the divorce.
If you already hired a lawyer who isn’t working out, you can cut ties and find someone new. When looking for your divorce attorney, look for specific signs of being a good lawyer. Doing a little research initially helps you spend your money wisely and get the best possible results out of your case.
Check out our guide for finding a good divorce lawyer.
Assess Your Situation
Each divorce is a little different, which means it’s important to understand what you need and hope to accomplish.
Take an honest look at your divorce situation. Is it straightforward with both parties in agreement, or is it going to be a long, difficult divorce with the two sides fighting each other the entire way?
Do you have kids, lots of assets, or other complicated details to decide?
Do you feel your spouse is a danger to you or your kids?
Having a clear understanding of your situation, your goals for the divorce, and your needs from your attorney helps you choose the best match.
Ask Others for Recommendations
Since 40 to 50% of Americans get divorced, you likely know a few people who’ve been through the process. Most of them likely used lawyers to protect their interests.
Reach out to those friends, coworkers, and other acquaintances to get recommendations on local attorneys. Ask for the name of the attorney used and how the experience was.
If someone had a bad experience with a lawyer, ask for specifics about what went wrong. Was it communication, timeliness, knowledge of divorce law, or another issue?
When someone gives you a glowing review, ask what the divorce lawyer did that made them so great.
Asking deeper questions instead of just asking for names helps you decide if the attorney fits your needs. It can help you decide which attorneys to avoid and which ones to look into more.
Look for Specialization
It’s always best to look for a lawyer who specializes in a particular area. You don’t to a criminal defense attorney to handle a child custody situation.
That doesn’t mean you have to choose a law firm that only handles divorce and family law. Many firms have a few different specialty areas.
The important thing is that the firm has handled many divorce cases in the past and is well-versed in the divorce laws in your state.
Many firms have multiple lawyers. Each lawyer may specialize in a different area. Even though a firm may have 10 lawyers, only a few may specialize in divorce and family law.
If you have a unique situation in your divorce, look for an attorney who has handled similar cases in the past. Hague Law Offices, PLLC points out situations such as valuable assets, business entities, and multiple real estate properties as complex situations in divorce.
In those situations, you want someone with extensive experience and attention to detail to protect those assets in the divorce.
Look at the basic qualifications and experience of a divorce lawyer you’re considering.
Years of experience is a good place to start. A new lawyer can be very competent, but choosing someone with years of family law experience can be a better choice. The experienced lawyer has seen many different situations and has more experience interpreting divorce laws, which can provide you with better legal representation.
Schedule an Initial Consultation
You don’t want to choose just one lawyer and go with that person. It’s best to test out at least two or three lawyers before making your decision.
This gives you a good comparison to see how lawyers really stack up to one another. If you’ve never hired a lawyer, you may not know what to look for in a legal expert. The comparison helps you decide which one best matches your needs.
Most lawyers offer free initial consultations. This is your chance to talk directly to the lawyer and ask questions to help make your decision.
Show up to the consultation prepared. Know your situation and your expected outcomes. Have a list of questions you want to know.
Then compare what you heard from each of the attorneys. Decide which one seemed most competent and best suited to take on your case.
If none of the attorneys seemed like a good match, try a few more.
Look at all interactions you have with attorneys to evaluate their communication skills. You need a lawyer who’ll keep you informed and communicate clearly with you.
If an attorney ignores your questions, brushes you off, or doesn’t seem to have time for you, keep looking.
You want someone who’s easy to talk to and will listen to what you say. Your lawyer can’t customize your case if they don’t listen to you to find out the details of your situation.
Ask about communication methods during the initial consultation. Find out how often the lawyer will communicate and the communication channels used.
Determine if you’ll work directly with the attorney the entire time, or if they’ll pass your case off to an associate.
Find out how you can contact your attorney when you have questions. Ask if the attorney is available outside of office hours.
Consider the Vibe You Get
Your gut reaction to each lawyer is a good guide for choosing representation for your divorce.
You don’t need your lawyer to be your best friend. You need someone who’ll look out for your best interests. If you expect a difficult divorce, choose someone who’ll fight aggressively for you in court proceedings.
It’s still a good idea to find someone you feel you can get along with during the process. Divorce can take months, and you’ll deal with your lawyer often. Choosing someone whose personality clashes with yours can make it feel even longer.
Look for red flags, such as someone who tries to pressure you into deciding or who seems like they might use sleazy techniques to win.
Consider the overall vibe you get from the other staff members and the office. You don’t need someone with a ritzy office, but if things seem dirty or disorganized, you may want to consider a different legal firm.
Research the Costs
Lawyer fees can vary significantly, so it’s important to ask the rates and payment structure. The average divorce costs $15,000, but the total can range much higher and much lower. Having an idea of what to expect helps you prepare financially for the divorce.
Divorce attorneys typically charge per hour. If your case is complicated or one or both parties refuse to agree on decisions, you’ll pay significantly more. Your lawyer spends more time working on your case, which increases your total.
Many lawyers expect you to pay a retainer fee. Think of it as a guarantee of payment.
As the lawyer completes work, that money goes toward paying for it. If your lawyer works more hours than the retainer can cover, you’ll be billed for the rest.
Say you pay a $5,000 retainer and your lawyer charges $250 per hour. The retainer would cover 20 hours of work.
If your divorce lawyer works more than 20 hours on your case, the remaining time gets charged to you.
Make sure you’re clear on how much you need to pay for your retainer fee and how much the lawyer charges per hour. Ask about any additional fees. Find out what happens when the retainer money is depleted.
Look at Reviews and Ratings
Many websites offer reviews, ratings, and endorsements for lawyers. These sites give you detailed information about potential lawyers to help you find a good fit and a quality attorney.
Avvo features reviews and peer endorsements for attorneys. You can see ratings for each lawyer as well as reviews about them. The site also lists the number of years of experience.
Martindale-Hubbell is another resource for finding ratings and reviews on lawyers. You can see peer and client reviews for each attorney, with ratings to give you an idea of the attorney’s overall competency.
Your state’s bar association website is another resource for finding divorce attorneys. You can often search in a directory and may be able to find out if an attorney has been disciplined.
Whenever you look at reviews or ratings, look at the overall numbers and comments. If one person says something negative about a lawyer but the rest of the reviews are overwhelmingly positive, it could a case of one person being difficult.
If everyone complains about a lack of communication or another specific issue from a lawyer, it’s safe to assume the lawyer comes up short in that area. You may want to look for a different option.
How to Find a Good Divorce Lawyer When figuring out how to find a good divorce lawyer, focus on your needs. Find someone who understands those needs and fights for you throughout the proceedings.