Based on 5 reviews
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In full agreement with the other negative client reviews specifically regarding Child Custody cases. My experience was very similar with Joan E. Smith. When asked for even simple basics, such as correspondence from opposing attorney, it would turn into a dramatic stunt where she actually yells, runs into her Very Protective Partner's office in an effort to get him upset. Thus, a cycle of bullying tactics & LOUD verbal attacks are directed at (me) Client because of Smith's own incompetence. My opinion; verbally abusive, loud yelling, fit throwing, dishonest, and incompetent . Do your research. Please BE AWARE; the very expensive financial retainers & such are MEANINGLESS vs. the COST of potentially & unjustly losing YOUR CHILDREN! By the grace of God, I was very fortunate once she was out.
You are paying for a name when you hire this lawfirm. Never had a lawyer tell me I could not afford their services after I hired them, but there is a first time for everything. I paid for specific services that were key items in my case, later to find she never filed them with the court. These orders were drawn up and presented to me appearing as if they were filed with the court but were not. I have been in constant litigation since hiring Ms.Smith, and would not be if she did what I hired her to do. I hired her but was constantly involved with her partner who is very protective of her and basically an overbearing "my way or the highway" type bully. I suffered watching my child suffer the duration of Ms. Smiths experience. She was terminated as my council because she talked a good talk outside the courtroom, but was a deer in the headlights in the courtroom. I personally would not recommend her services to anyone I care about, maybe auto accidents,etc but not family law!
Joan is the epitome of class and integrity. She communicated regularly and timely with us on all matters. Her job first and foremost - and one she takes extremely seriously - is to advocate what causes the least amount of stress and strain on the child/children involved in divorce and custody. I have nothing but the absolute highest praise for Joan. I came to Mirshak and Smith after receiving less than stellar representation from another lawyer. I was told up front the costs involved as well as the caveat that costs may increase based on the length of time the case took and how many court appearances could be involved. Both Tim and Joan are professional. They work in concert at times as well as solo, but always with the needs of the client in mind. Divorce and resulting custody issues are painful. They are emotional. Sometimes the attorney has to tell the client things they may not want to hear. I can attest that Joan and Tim were always direct and honest with me. My process of retaining custody of my child began nearly twelve years ago after a contentious divorce. Joan and Tim took my case over ten years ago and continued to represent me up until the last action one year ago. Joan in particular is adept at avoiding court when possible and making both parties comfortable with the outcomes. Is Joan expensive? Yes. Was she worth every single penny? YES.
Consumer BEWARE... You get sucked in by retaining the self proclaimed "bulldog" and then its 5,000 here and 5,000 there. Then after months of NOTHING, you get the "big gun" Tim Mirshak to make his appearance and he delivers the expensive news that in addition to the 10,000 spent, it will be an additional 20,000 to fight your cause. If you can't afford this, then the self proclaimed "bulldog" then becomes a mute in court. You are now no longer "important". Also, if you chastise her for her lack luster performance in court and challenge her on what you have spent your money on, then be prepared for the tears and to have her partner come in and tell you you can't afford their firm. REALLY, sure could have used that information on the first visit! If you choose to hire Joan, PLEASE sign a contract. Make sure it details your wants and expectations and PLEASE, PLEASE notate a monetary amount agreed upon by the both of you. If you fail to do this, then expect to put a second mortgage on your house because you are going to need it!
When I first set up my consultation, I actually started with Tim. They work hand in hand on most all their cases and switch back and forth. The first time I was scheduled to go to court, I met with Joan and we discussed all the issues and the outcome that we wanted and what we would have to do to meet those outcomes. She is very understanding of the problems that I was going through in my separation. Every time we go to court, she goes the extra mile and puts in a hundred and ten percent. I think that my divorce and separation would be a lot harder if I didn't have such a good attorney. She does her research and is very well respected in our legal community. She adheres to high standards and will do everything possible to ensure that the client has the best result possible. She is also very realistic though and prepares you for all the various outcomes so that you are not surprised if something different happens in the courtroom. I would recommend Joan to anyone who needs an outstanding attorney (and I often do recommend her). Oh yeah, I also happen to work in the family court section of a clerks office and when we pick our attorneys for our own personal cases, we only use the best. This is proof positive.