Hiring a family law attorney is a major decision that requires careful consideration. You can probably find dozens of lawyers in the Topeka, KS area that practice the type of legal representation you need, but it’s vital to take your time and to ask the right questions if you want to find the best attorney for your situation.
The following list of questions are essential to ask of any potential attorney. When you meet with an attorney for the first time for a case evaluation or consultation, the attorney will want to get as much information about your situation as possible so they can evaluate your risk level as a client. On the same note, your goal should be to find out as much as possible about the attorney so you can agree to their representation with greater confidence.
One: “How Long Have You Practiced Law?”
It’s essential to choose an attorney with a respectable amount of experience. While many new attorneys are incredibly talented, it is typically safer to err on the side of experience. An attorney with ten years of experience in a particular practice area will likely understand the court system on a much deeper level than a new attorney who has only been practicing law for a year or two. A more experienced attorney will also likely have a more developed network of professional contacts in the event your case requires input from professional expert witnesses or other legal professionals.
Two: “How Many Cases Like Mine Have You Handled?
Years of service in the legal industry is not the only experience-related issue you should cover with a potential attorney. It’s also important to find out how long the attorney has handled cases just like yours. For example, you might find a family law attorney boasting 20 years of experience, but if 18 of those years were spent on probate cases and the attorney only has two years of handling divorce cases, then another attorney with just ten years of experience solely in divorce cases would be the preferable option for legal counsel.
Three: “What Level of Contact Can I Expect from Your Firm?”
You should know if your attorney will be available to answer your questions on a reasonable level or if they are going to be occupied with other cases more often than not. Your attorney should at the very least be able to respond to any of your calls or emails within 24 hours. It’s also a good idea to ask the attorney about their preferred method of contact so you know which method will yield the fastest response time.
Four: “How Many People Will Work on My Case?”
The attorney you’re interviewing should be able to provide a rough idea of the size of the legal team who will work on your case. Your attorney may have a legal team consisting of paralegals, legal assistants, associate attorneys, and even private investigators in some cases. You should have a firm idea of how extensive your legal team will be before you agree to representation.
Five: “How Much Will Your Services Cost Me?”
The cost of legal representation in the US is notoriously high. If a Topeka, KS divorce attorney offers to represent your case, they should be willing to provide at least a rough estimate of how much your legal fees will be. The attorney should not only provide their hourly rate and their fees for specific services, but also estimate how long your case will take to reach a resolution.
Six: “What Type of Approach Will You Take to Handling My Case?”
Some attorneys are more aggressive than others. Most attorneys adjust their approach to legal representation on a case-by-case basis. You should ask a potential attorney about their philosophy for legal representation. Find out how they prefer to handle cases like yours and what factors about your case stand out most to them.
Seven: “What Is Your Impression of My Case?”
Divorce can be an emotionally charged matter, and it’s not uncommon for divorcing spouses to overlook important information as they go through their divorce proceedings. Your attorney should provide you with a frank, honest, professional assessment of your divorce case and point out any extenuating factors that you might have overlooked. This review can tell you whether your expectations are reasonable and whether the attorney has real faith in your case.
Eight: “What’s the Most Likely Outcome of My Case?”
Experienced attorneys can quickly identify markers in a case that will tell them how easy or difficult they will be to represent, how long they might take to resolve, and whether a client has strong footing at the outset of a case. Ask your attorney what they believe will happen when you take your case to court and whether you need to temper your expectations for your divorce.
Nine: “Do You See Any Potential Issues With This Case?”
A good attorney can assess whether a case will run into any obstacles or whether a client’s expectations for the outcome of their case are reasonable. Ask the attorney their prediction of how the case will proceed and identify any issues that may drag out the litigative process.
Ten: “What Support Services Can Your Firm Provide Once My Case Concludes?”
Some attorneys may connect their clients with financial advisors, tax professionals, and other contacts to help them manage the aftermath of divorce. It’s possible that your divorce proceedings could be very expensive, and the results may differ from your expectations, requiring you to revisit your personal finances and make changes to your lifestyle. Experienced attorneys understand that divorce is life-changing, and good attorneys will try to help their clients beyond the courtroom by connecting them to reliable professionals.
Asking these ten questions during your first meeting with an attorney is a good strategy for determining whether the attorney would be a good fit for your case. Every divorce case is different, so you may think of several other questions to ask that are specific to your situation. Ultimately, it is vital to seek representation from an experienced attorney who is willing to provide an open and honest assessment of your case before asking you to sign any contracts for legal representation.