The Five Most Important Things to Evaluate Upon Hiring Divorce Counsel
1. Based upon years of experience, I have determined that the single most important criteria that ultimately assures success and client satisfaction is communication. The client must be comfortable expressing the client’s concerns and objectives, recognize that the lawyer is carefully listening and have a high degree of confidence that the lawyer will continue to be responsive. As an attorney who receives many client and attorney referrals, I value very highly the importance of listening, responding and being available and I recognize how those qualities support and maintain client confidence and ultimately translate into the goal of success as well as achieving the client’s objectives.
2. The client should be comfortably able to evaluate the lawyer’s depth of experience and know that the facts and case presented are neither new nor novel; and that the lawyer has over many years of experience cultivated the knowledge of where the dichotomy between the facts and the law exists and where they might converge, ultimately understanding the priorities of the case as well as how and where to apply important legal precedent to support a variety of issues that are of critical importance in the resolution of the matter. My depth of experience quickly and easily enables the client to have the comfortable knowledge that these important criteria will be properly developed and utilized as required.
3. The chart of importance must inevitably focus on the range of cases that have been handled by the attorney to enable the client to know that the issues presented have generally been handled before though recognizing that in every instance the facts will often be unique. Here in particular, over many years of experience I have handled cases with limited assets as well as cases with very substantial assets incorporating multiple issues relating to the acquisition, enhancement, growth and transfer of those assets. My experience has included representing partners in the very largest law firms and public accounting practices as well as major executives in substantial corporations. I have represented individuals who own and operate small family held businesses including real estate partnerships as well as spouses who have supported those endeavors. Frequently, the services of outside financial experts are needed to evaluate complex assets and determine the scope and interests possessed in multi-faceted retirement vehicles with a variety of funding formulas, vesting and exercise options. Here, the client needs to know that the attorney possesses the requisite knowledge and that the attorney will exhaust every necessary effort to uncover and value the assets that need to be subject to distribution. This attorney possesses the vast developed and refined knowledge to smoothly accomplish all the above.
4. Custody and access issues can sometimes be at the top of the decision making chart and they easily rival financial considerations that govern any early resolution of a given case. Here, the client needs to know that the attorney is prepared to try the case if necessary, that the attorney has significant trial experience in this arena and at the same time the client needs to focus upon the issues that will be dispositive in the resolution of a custody battle. The client needs to be comfortable and confident that the lawyer can adequately and sensitively weigh the critical issues that will determine the resolution of any custody battle and here in particular my vast experience of trying the most difficult cases immediately supports the client’s confidence in this critical arena. Sensitivity, compassion and understanding are critical and irreplaceable traits that cannot be underestimated in importance. The law surrounding these cases is constantly subject to challenge and the Appellate Court determinations are critically important and it is the job of the attorney to familiarize the client with the barometers that the court will look at to guide the client in the decision making process as it relates to settlement or trial.
5. The final criteria must invariably relate to the important question of finances, fees, settlement and trial. Frequently, fees can rise to the top of the list particularly where the client must gain a comfort level that that the attorney can achieve or strive to achieve the objectives that are identified in the most efficient, expeditious and economical manner. Here in particular, my deep experience coupled with the reality that I have encountered virtually every situation enables the client to calculate that fees are being utilized to the maximum potential and that the attorney is committed to streamlining where possible the path without comprising or sacrificing any strategy or critical objective. Further, it is important that the client recognize that the attorney’s reputation precedes him to court and that the judges and referees know and respect the attorney and that the lawyers on the other side of the matter know that the attorney is prepared to try the case if mandated and otherwise able and willing to fight for an early, just and practical outcome.