Top 7 Things to Consider When Hiring a Los Angeles Divorce Attorney
Hiring a divorce attorney in Los Angeles can be a daunting task. Given the amount of attorneys to choose from, it can be hard to know if you’re making the right decision. With that in mind, we put together a list of things you should consider when hiring a divorce lawyer.
1. How long have they been practicing law?
This one is simple. The longer they’ve been practicing, the more experience they have. If you want to find out how long an attorney has been licensed to practice law, go to the California State Bar page and look them up here:
However, how long they have been an attorney should be balanced against the next question.
2. Do they solely practice family law?
It’s a good idea to find out how much of their practice is dedicated solely to divorce and family law. Additionally, you should ask if they are a Certified Specialist Family Law attorney. If someone has 20 years experience but practices in many different areas, it might be less actual, hands-on experience than someone who has solely practiced family law for the past 15 years.
3. Do they have good online reviews?
You should be able to find reviews on divorce lawyers using these various sites including Yelp and Avvo. It’s important to take good or bad reviews with a grain of salt. Additionally, read the reviews. Three great reviews that appear to be real (lengthy, detailed, and in-depth about the case and what the attorney did), should be given more weight than 30 reviews that simply say, “he’s a great divorce lawyer!”.
4. Where did they attend law school?
Often times, attorneys will list where they attended law school on their websites. If not, you should be able to find it on the California State Bar site: http://members.calbar.ca.gov/fal/membersearch/quicksearch.
Many local divorce attorneys attended law school in the Los Angeles area, including: Loyola Law School – Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Southwestern School of Law, and Pepperdine University.
If you’d like to see the law school rankings of your potential attorney, visit the U.S. News and World Report rankings published annually.
5. Have they tried cases before the judge hearing your case?
Let’s face it, law is local. Attorneys often appear in certain courts and before certain judges on a regular basis. As such, an attorney will get to know a particular courthouse and judges better than he or she will know others.
If you’ve been served with notice of a divorce proceeding or have a pending case in a Los Angeles family law court, bring any court documents you have when first meeting with your attorney. Ask them how familiar they are with the judge hearing your case. Ideally, you want a divorce attorney that has experience (and a good reputation) before the judge that will be hearing your case.
6. What is the attorney’s approach to a case?
Every attorney has a different approach to divorce case. Some attorneys take a more aggressive approach, while others seek compromise. Make sure that your divorce lawyer takes an approach that you’re comfortable with.
7. Most important step – take the time to meet with several divorce attorneys before making a decision
In Los Angeles, some divorce lawyers offer a free consultation, others don’t. You shouldn’t draw any inferences from whether an attorney offers a free consultation or not. Instead, make it a point to meet with several attorneys before making a decision.
Ideally, you should meet in person with several attorneys and not simply do phone interviews. We understand that driving in Los Angeles can be a hassle, but choosing the right attorney will greatly impact your ability to obtain a successful outcome.