How to choose an attorney

Author: M. Samples

Choosing an attorney for your family law case is a big decision. This is the person that will be walking beside you through what may be one of the biggest events of your life. This needs to be someone that you trust and can communicate well with. Don’t be afraid to meet with multiple attorneys! Not all attorneys are a great match for all clients. People have different personalities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses. Below are a few things to keep in mind as you search for the best attorney for you. 


  • Their morals and philosophies align with your own
    • Ask your prospective attorneys questions that help you learn about their philosophies and morals. Why did they choose family law? What is one of their favorite case outcomes? What aspects of family law cases do they feel are most important? What is one quality that they feel makes them a great attorney?
  • Their rates and fees are within your budget
    • It’s important to find an attorney with rates and fees that you can afford. It’s normal for firms not to give exact quotes on the final cost of your case. There is often no way for an attorney to accurately guess how much work a case will require. That said, you can still ask questions regarding the firm’s billing system. How and when legal work is billed, whether they ask for retainer deposits, what the hourly rates are, what the consult fee is, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If money is a concern, try to contact your local and state bar associations to find out about sliding scale assistance options.
  • Their office is tidy and well organized. 
    • The environment of your attorney’s office is crucial. An attorney with mountains of documents on their firm’s tables, desks, and floors may be a red flag. Lawyers have an  important job, and organization is essential in giving the best possible representation to clients. Look for an attorney who values these traits. It is also important that you meet and feel comfortable with the attorney’s staff. You will likely be spending just as much time with the firm’s receptionist, paralegals, intake clerks, etc. as you do your attorney. Due to the current pandemic, you may not be spending much (if any) time inside these offices. However, you can still get a feel for an office’s environment by paying attention to response times, attitudes, and general helpfulness.
  • You like them. 
    • This one is quite simple – trust your gut feeling and choose an attorney that you get along with. Is this someone you feel comfortable confiding in? Someone who will tell you what you need to hear, rather than what you want to hear, and do so with compassion? Your attorney should not be your close friend, but it should be someone you can have a nice coffee with while you discuss your case.