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Stephen F. McDonough
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Stephen McDonough’s Client Reviews

     4.5 stars 22 total

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Brian

    Good guy

    Steve was great to work with. Divorce is an awful situation and Steve treated me with respect and kept me calm through the process. He moved the divorce as quickly as the court could accomadate and was very fair with his bills. I would highly recommend him

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Heather

    Professional and Compassionate...

    Stephen F. McDonough proved to be the best decision I ever made when hiring a lawyer for my divorce. McDonough provides practical advice, as well as an ear, to help work through what is an incredibly emotional and painful process. He went above and beyond in his quest to help me achieve my goals. His compassion and knowledge have helped to make the process a little less painful. He is well educated on all current laws. I highly recommend him to anyone going through the divorce process.

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Hilary

    Great attorney for family law, divorce, and child custody issues.

    Stephen McDonough has been my family law attorney for many issues relative to my past divorce. He is wonderful to work with, talk to, and he continuously puts my mind at ease when we have had to go to court. He's worth entrusting your legal needs with. I would gladly recommend him to others and use him again when necessary.

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Mark

    Norfolk, Medfield, Westwood Divorce and Family Law Attorney's

    If you need a Norfolk/Medfield/Westwood divorce/ family law lawyer, I highly recommend attorney and mediator Stephen McDonough at Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. I have used Stephen McDonough as my attorney on multiple occasions, starting with my divorce and later for post-divorce parenting and child support issues. Stephen is well-prepared and gets favorable results. He is always prepared and does a great job on the customer service side by keeping me advised about my case and returning calls and emails promptly. If I need a Norfolk/Medfield/Westwood divorce/family law attorney in the future, my first call will be to Stephen at Next Phase Legal.

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Peter

    Highly Recommend The Divorce Collaborative LLC - Shrewsbury Dad

    A divorce is never pretty or fun but the good folks at the Divorce Collaborative helped make the process less confusing and as painless as possible. I worked with Steve as my attorney while involved in divorce mediation in Worcester County. Steve was extremely helpful by answering all of my questions and coaching me between the mediation sessions. His knowledge of the financial issues and ideas on bargaining helped me negotiate a fair settlement - for me and my children. Since Steve is also an experienced mediator, he did not try and upset the mediation process, but was supportive and understanding. Steve, along with others at the firm, were always quick to respond to my emails or telephone calls and were very accommodating around my busy schedule. I highly recommend him and The Divorce Collaborative LLC.

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    Stephen F. McDonough’s response: “The Divorce Collaborative was my former firm. I have since founded Next Phase Legal LLC in Medfield, MA. Please call (508) 359-4043 for more information.”
  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Cate

    Divorce/Mediation

    I had a very good experience with Stephen McDonough. He was personable and put me at ease right away. He seemed very experienced and knowledgable and was able to answer most, if not all of my questions. He was very patient with my husband and me, as we hit quite a few bumps along the way. Cost wise, the mediation process was much less expensive than a contested divorce. I think my husband and I were both satisfied with the process and the final agreement. I would highly recommend Stephen and his staff and the mediation process as well.

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  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Hilary

    Review for Stephen McDonough

    Having to go through family court for custodial issues is hard enough on it's own; having Stephen McDonough by my side has made navigation through this process less stressful. Stephen is incredibly knowledgeable in the system and the procedures, and represents his client well both in the court room and outside of the court room. Throughout my interactions with him he's been very professional, personal and attentively listened to communication. He and his firm have represented me in several court proceedings over the past two years and I would have no reservations about continuing with his services for family court.

    I would recommend his services to anyone who is looking for top quality representation.

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  • 1.0 star

    Posted by a Divorce client

    Disappointed

    My exhusband and I worked with Steve for months trying to mediate our divorce. Although we had agreed to a flat fee, ultimately we paid much, much more and ended up unsatisfied (on both sides.) After months of getting no where in our negotiations, we both hired different attorneys to represent us and were able to come to a timely agreement without going to court. Both my ex and I were disappointed with the mediation experience with Steve.

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    Stephen F. McDonough’s response: “Almost all our mediation clients work together with our help and reach a full agreement in an efficient way, saving thousands when compared to a court-based process. Since Avvo allows for anonymous reviews and will not confirm a poster's identity with the lawyer or mediator reviewed, it is difficult to respond in detail; but since a small % of our mediation clients don't complete the process, I think I know what case this is. Mediation clients have the option of selecting a fixed fee at our firm, or they can select hourly billing. Fixed fees almost always work out in the client's favor when compared to what they would have paid if hourly, and this matter was no exception. The fixed fee package is set forth in clear detail, and includes a set number of meetings, and an overall generous time period for our services. If a couple is unable to reach an agreement, then they may continue to work with the mediator on an hourly basis. All of this is clearly spelled out. Mediation is voluntary, and both sides must compromise on their positions to reach a settlement. We do our best to help, but sometimes a person may cling to an unreasonable position or just not be emotionally ready to move forward. The reviewer complains that they "spent months getting nowhere in their negotiations." First, that is not accurate and to blame the mediator for a lack of progress is not fair, because a mediator is neutral and cannot impose anything on anyone. Progress and a successful mediation really rests with the clients. When there is an impasse, it may not make sense to continue a mediation, and the parties may need to get their own lawyers to help them finish the divorce. A mediator could also select not to continue with the mediation if for example one person does not cooperate in the process, seems unwilling to negotiate further, or will not disclose necessary financial information to move forward. The reviewer says they hired lawyers and were able to reach an agreement, which is great. The reviewer makes it seem like they accomplished nothing in mediation then magically just settled everything. That is not what really happens in my experience. I have also served as the lawyer coming in at the end of the process after a mediation stalled at other firms. Frankly, a person may need "a reality check" and more legal advice from a lawyer outside of the mediation process, although not normally. Once this occurs, people will oftentimes wrap things up quickly. Here, we had many mediation sessions where issues were flushed out and if not fully agreed upon, then narrowed down considerably. The parties were close to completion when the mediation ended. If this is the person I think it is, if I explained the law or if something came up in a meeting that did not fully support the reviewer's position, then I was being "biased." Our fixed fee clients fully understand what they are going to pay before any mediation starts, so if they paid more than it was because they required ADDITIONAL SERVICES not included in the plan, like extra sessions. Again, the fixed - fee plan clearly sets forth what is and what is not included. Of course, this couple would have incurred fees for their own attorneys, but that is nothing to do with my mediation services. I think potential clients need to consider online reviews carefully. I take much pride in my firm, our lawyers and mediators and the difficult work we do. Leaving a negative review because someone was not willing to finish the mediation is unfortunate. I agree that it is disappointing when a couple cannot reach a mediated settlement, but blaming the mediator is a stretch.”
  • 1.0 star

    Posted by Stephanie

    Be Aware

    Retained this attorney for divorce and paid a flat rate fee which may not be legal in the state of Massachusetts. After repeated requests to file a motion for sole occupancy of the marital home, I had an emergency situation which required the filing of a restraining order. I replaced him with a different attorney and ended up with a $7,000 bill despite never going to court on my behalf. His lack of experience resulted in a personally difficult situation for both me and my children. I would recommend shopping around for an attorney as I should have before retaining anyone.

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    Stephen F. McDonough’s response: “As you can imagine, I was taken back by the review posted above and attempted to determine who “Stephanie” is immediately upon reading the review. Unfortunately, I am unable to ascertain Stephanie’s full name because Avvo will not confirm the full name of a reviewer even if requested by the attorney. I believe “Stephanie” is a client from 2008 and am surprised at her assertion that flat fees for legal services may be illegal. 
Flat fees for legal services are absolutely LEGAL and common in Massachusetts. This fact is easily confirmed with a few minutes of online research. It is troubling that such a comment may be posted in a public review forum. 

 My firm - and many others - use fixed (or flat) fees frequently for clients, or a client can decide to use traditional hourly billing. This is the first time in my legal career that I have ever had anyone voice any regrets over paying a fixed fee. 

 My records indicate I worked with Stephanie for 5-6 months. Paying a fixed fee for her case was clearly advantageous to Stephanie. Regarding Stephanie’s “repeated requests” to file a motion for sole occupancy of the marital home and “emergency situation which required the filing of a restraining order,” it should be pointed out that this was a collaborative divorce. For more information on collaborative divorce, please visit: http://www.divorcecollaborative.com/learning-center/collaborative-divorce/. 
 In a collaborative divorce, the collaborative agreement, which is carefully reviewed with the client, makes it clear the collaborative attorneys SHALL NOT file any court documents, including motions and restraining orders until a full agreement is reached. The filing of any restraining orders or other motions would automatically terminate the collaborative process requiring new lawyers and more legal fees on both sides. 

 Finally, what concerns me the most is that Stephanie wrote that I put her and her children in a “personally difficult situation.” As a father and former police officer, I would never suggest a course of action that would place a client in danger. According to my notes, there were no domestic violence or safety concerns in this case. 

As this case progressed, it was clear that there was a significant amount of conflict and inflexibility between spouses and that the collaborative process was not a good fit. 

I hope Stephanie is doing well post-divorce, and some 4+ years later. I am not familiar with what happened with her case after our representation ended, but do hope she has moved on and is happier.”
  • 5.0 stars

    Posted by Bill

    Less stressful than I ever would have imagined

    I went into our first meeting not knowing what to expect and right away Steve made me feel at ease and comfortable. He did an excellent job of explaining the entire process and brought up many things that I had not yet thought about. I left our first meeting feeling that we (my ex-wife and I) made the correct choice in hiring Steve.

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