What are some important considerations in choosing a family law attorney?
Edina divorce attorney, Linda Olup, shares what clients should think about when hiring a family law lawyer.
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Phone: (952) 835-4070
I think there are several things that people need to consider when looking at who to hire. Rarely do I think people should proceed without an attorney, unless they have no children and very little in the way of assets, then maybe they can do it themselves. But for the clients that I work with, I always tell people, “Know your budget.” You don’t necessarily need a Bentley to drive two blocks to the grocery store. It may feel really good to get into a Bentley, but that’s not necessarily the wisest use of your resources. So choose your attorney not by what they charge per hour, not by necessarily all of the credentials that have led them to the point that they’re at. Not necessarily based on how many years they’ve been practicing. Choose the attorney who’s the best fit for your budget.
There are a lot of wonderful attorneys out there who have the skills to guide people through a divorce that isn’t terribly complicated. If you don’t have a lot of custody of parenting-time issues, if you don’t have large marital assets, if you don’t have complicating issues like spousal support or the valuation of a business, you might be able to best utilize the services of not necessarily a super lawyer, but a rising star super lawyer. You can ask the lawyer questions. Find out how manty years they’ve been practicing. And find out what they do as not just an attorney, but what are their extracurricular activities? Find out do they speak publically, professionally? We have to go to seminars as lawyers to maintain our CLE, continuing legal education. Do they speak to lawyers about family law? If they do, that gives them a level of credibility than somebody who just is a general practitioner, works as a general practitioner and doesn’t specifically focus on family law issues may not have.
Find out if they work on committees, bar association committees in particular because that is where changes in the laws are made or new cases are coming up. So that will give them another layer of education and credibility. Find out if they blog. Read some of their blogs. They can be very informative in telling you the level of knowledge the attorney has and the way that they think about various issues. And that can be very important. So you don’t necessarily need to have the most expensive lawyer or the most experienced lawyer to have efficient representation. I know people want that, but I think they want that because they think that that’s going to be their best protection. When people come in and they want an excellent lawyer, it’s usually because they’re afraid and because they want to deal with their fear by having what they perceive to be the best representative. But that may not necessarily be exactly what they need.
So I would say know your budget, ask a lot of questions. Most lawyers will be happy to tell you about themselves. There’s a lot of online resources. You can go online and find out an awful lot of information about lawyers. LinkedIn can give you a lot of information about your – the attorney that you’re seeing. About their background, their credentials, their speaking engagements. And write down the questions so that you have consistent questions for all of the lawyers that you visit. Youi should always see at least two lawyers, three if you can afford it.