Your first interview with a family law lawyer is very much like any other interview. The attorney will be listening to ensure there are no ethical or legal issues why they cannot take on your case, as well as getting an understanding if they are able to act as your attorney based on the specifics of your divorce, custody modification, adoption or other family law related issue.
While the family law lawyer is doing this, you should also be evaluating the professional. Test your level of comfort in speaking with the attorney as well as how well they are able to communicate the issues of your case in ways that you find easy to understand.
Additionally, it is a good idea to make sure you get the answers to four very specific questions at some point in the consultation meeting.
What types of law do you practice?
Some attorneys specialize in family law while others handle a range of cases from a car accident and personal injury through to criminal defense. As the family law is very specialized, an attorney with this specific training and experience is critical.
How many cases like mine have you handled?
Not all divorces, modifications, adoptions, child support or alimony cases are the same. Ask the attorney for a general understanding of their expertise, experience and training specific to cases that are similar in nature to yours. You do not want to be an attorney’s first client in a family court case.
How many of those cases went to court?
While it may appear that all cases in family court end up before a judge, most are settled through mediation or through agreements prior to litigation. This saves you money and speeds up the process. However, you will also want to ensure the attorney has court experience just in case it is not possible to settle.
What is your fee and what is the typical cost of a case like mine through your practice?
Asking about fees and costs may seem awkward, but an experienced family law lawyer will be able to provide you with general information on what to expect. Most of the top attorneys are very similar in costs and fees, but verifying this is always important.