So you have decided to contact a divorce lawyer to schedule an initial consultation. What can you do to make that first meeting as productive as possible? Before you even make the call, learn all you can about the lawyer. Check out his or her website. What? They don’t have a website? Huge red flag.
Does the lawyer’s website provide you with information about divorce law so that you can educate yourself before your consultation? If not, that is another red flag. If the lawyer’s website spends more time telling you about his or her achievements and less about the things you need to know, that is a clue to how the relationship may play out.
Now that you have reviewed the lawyer’s website, you decide to schedule a consultation. Preferably you are scheduling the consultation before you separate. Most divorce lawyers will probably require that you pay for the consultation (unlike personal injury lawyers, for instance). Perhaps you should ask whether you can pay in advance by credit card. If so, then ask whether you can fax or email documents to the lawyer in advance of your meeting. If you have already paid, a lawyer will be more inclined to review those documents before your meeting.
The day has finally come for the visit to the lawyer’s office. You should have a list of questions. Write them down. You will be nervous and you will forget things. Write them down. Also, remember that this is your time; time you are paying for. Use it wisely. A dialogue is a much better use of that time than a monologue. If you are simply there to vent about your evil spouse, the lawyer will be willing to listen, but this does not get you the information you need. Ask questions and then listen to the answers.
Be mindful of your objectives. What are you trying to achieve? You need to be honest in expressing those desires to the lawyer and you need to listen carefully to the lawyer when he or she tells you what you can expect. If the lawyer seems unwilling to pursue what you want to achieve, you may need to find another lawyer. On the other hand, if the lawyer tries to explain that the goal you are seeking is unreasonable or unattainable, you need to be open to what the lawyer is telling you. A couple final red flags: a lawyer that guarantees a certain result or one that gives you his win-loss record.
Listen to the lawyer. Let the lawyer give you his or her opinion. Consider the advice based upon the goals you hope to achieve. Be honest with yourself about those goals. Most of all, keep your eye on the end-game. What you really want, really need, is to be done with the conflict and done with the strife. The lawyer that can guide you to that goal is the one you should hire. If we can help you, contact Irvine Law Firm.