Based on 18 reviews
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Joe was retained over four years ago on a case involving enforcement of an old settlement, poorly written. He was chosen after the recommendation of individuals closely involved with the court and interviews with 4 other attorneys. He is a decent, honest, caring person, and a competent attorney. But competence did not translate into success for this case. Here are some things to keep in mind when retaining an attorney for a family law matter in San Bernardino, as they relate to our experience with Joe.
The case will most likely take years to resolve, if multiple court dates are needed. Joe did his best to expedite the case, but a case that was originally thought to be resolvable in one to two years took over 4 years. This was not Joe's fault, but it has become a reality in San Bernardino that the courts are clogged, judges overworked and cases take many years longer than they should. This meant that the expense of the case grew by over 3 times the original retainer. Had we projected the case would take at least twice as long and cost over 3 times the original estimate, we would have never proceeded. It would have been clear that the risk and cost of losing would outweighed the benefits of winning.
Ask any attorney you are considering to give you details on cases they have recently won, and how the cases were resolved, i.e. settlement, court decision, appeal. You need to gauge where the attorney's practice is headed, because you will likely be waiting years to see a final resolution. And those years of working on the case and waiting will impact the attorney. There may be health problems, staff turnover, and evolution of the attorney's relationship with judges, and evolution of the courts. All these factors work against those with the lessor resources. In our case, Joe overcame many obstacles to proceeding with our case , but there was a lot of staff turnover, which at times made it tough on us.
The relationship of the attorney with the judges is the most important factor in the resolution of your case. Joe's relationship with the judges was said to be outstanding when he was retained. But this was years ago, and it appears that these relationships deteriorated over time. To have our case won, with a clear judgment in favor, and then to have the same judge reverse that ruling, and after years of delays, not based on law, but on equity, seemed strange. To learn of similar reversals in several other cases all around the same time speaks to some hidden issue with the judges, likely not Joe's fault, but still devastating to the outcome of our case, and presumably the other cases too.
Be prepared to put in significant time yourself on your case, many, many hours. Or be prepared to spend a lot of money on staff time. The average attorney bills $500 per hour. This works out to $1,000,000 per year. Joe was fair in his rates and billing practices, but also tough. When interviewing Joe or any other attorney, ask yourself these questions. Can you afford 3 or 4 times the original retainer?Does the opposing party have greater resources than you? Where will you be in 4 or 5 years? Where do you think the attorney will be in 4 or 5 years?
Lastly attorneys and judges will always push for settlements. But settlements need enforcement mechanisms and these are hard to obtain. We received a settlement offer of 20% of the value of the case. Joe's opinion was to accept. We deemed it in bad faith and had to make the difficult decision to reject it.
This is not a reflection on Joe's competence as an attorney, but of a changing reality in which cases are dependent less on the law than on relationships between judges and attorneys, and very much on the cooperation of the opposing party, making receiving a fair outcome difficult if resources between parties are unequal. Joe, and all attorneys, need to be clear from the outset about the costs and time of cases, and the difficulty in getting a fair outcome absent large resources.
If you are reading this review then I must assume you are entering or are already going through a divorce or custody battle. I am so sorry. You will need a great deal of support and an extraordinary legal team to help you handle the countless requests, emails, opposing council crap, court dates and the overall aggravation that undoubtedly will be caused by your ex. This process will most likely push you to your breaking point and evoke so many emotions but through it all, it is crucial you stay focus on all you need to do. You will need someone who will advise you and direct you from doing something that can potentially be devastating to your case. Number one advice I can give you is that you must have the utmost confident in the person who is representing you. To that I say, "LOOK NO FURTHER!"
Mr. Howington is the embodiment of everything you will need and want on yours side to help you fight for what you think is right. He will never sugar-coat anything and he will always give you the benefit of his 34 years of experience. His staff is awesome (Shout out to Heather)! They all are extremely professional, expedient and very friendly. They seem to work tirelessly for you and make you feel like you are the most important case they are working on. I am so grateful I was referred to Mr. Howington from a former client of his. Although the outcome of my situation has not been resolved I am more than confident Mr. Howington and his staff are doing all in their power to get me a favorable outcome.
As much as it can be, given that my divorce/custody battle is the most detestable situation I have ever gone through, I can still say it has been a pleasurable experience working with Mr. Howington and his staff.
Mr. Howington and his staff (thank you Christin !) are professional, courteous and knowledgeable. Mr. Howington readily listened to and understood my needs/concerns and answered all of my questions. I HIGHLY recommend Mr. Howington for any/all family law related matters.
Joe is knowledgeable, fair, explains things clearly, and is very accessible. I would not only recommend Joe, but I would not use any other lawyer. He is truly the cream of the crop.
I was referred to Joe by a friend of mine who knew of Joe's reputation and expertise. I had been involved in a protracted high conflict custody dispute for five years and had already been through two attorneys.
As a father, I was determined to do the best I possibly could for my young son and made the lengthy driving trip to see Joe. By that time, my case was voluminous with motions, declarations, evaluations, and hearings. Joe immediately took charge, analyzed my case, outlined a strategy and proceeded forward with conviction, commitment and a masterful knowledge of the law. He showed himself to be an experienced, effective litigator and trial attorney when I needed one.
Joe was straightforward and tough but also understanding. He took time to educate me about the issues in my case and how they applied to the law. He fought hard for me and galvanized my case forward guiding me with a firm hand through the maze of the family law system. He was responsive to me despite his busy schedule. He answered all my questions whenever I asked them and his staff, especially Heather, was equally supportive. I have Joe to thank, in no small measure, for his part in bringing me full circle from that of weekend father to that of sole custodial parent of my son.
There are lots of lawyers but very few like Joe. It's been my privilege to know him and I will always be grateful for his help. Faced with the circumstances I was, the best thing you could do is have Joe on your side.
I am in the midst of a divorce and was referred to Joe by several other family law specialists. I find Joe to be very up front, open and honest about my situation. He has told me from the beginning that clients sometimes have unreasonable expectations but that he will do everything he can for me. After meeting with him the first time, I completely trusted that he truly would do absolutely everything within his power to get the best settlement possible for my children and me. In fact when we went to court recently that is exactly what he did. I was so proud to have him by my side arguing for me while the opposing side fumbled. He was well prepared and provided the judge with everything necessary to make a fair decision on an issue that was a little obscure.
Prior to the hearing he completely prepared me on what to expect in court, when to meet, where to wait, what to wear, etc. The fact that he took the time to explain this process to me really helped my nerves on the day of our hearing. Aside from preparing me for the hearing he has talked me through and prepared me for every step of this process from the original filing to mediation and now the hearing. As we continue, I know that he will continue take care of the needs of my case.
One of the most incredible things about Joe is his ability to recall the smallest tidbit of information that I shared with him months ago and apply it to the case today. Being so busy and working on so many cases at any given time, I feel like this is an amazing ability.
Joe's office staff is great and I especially enjoy seeing Charlie Brown (to me he is a calming presence in the office at a time of great stress). Any time I have a question or concern I feel that I can email or call the office and get an answer. They are all very knowledgeable and if they are unsure about something they are upfront about that and will let you know that they need to check into it and get back to me. I appreciate that no one in the office will mislead or give bogus information.
Joe makes himself very accessible. I was provided with his cell phone number which I felt was very generous and caring. I did have to use it once and he got right back to me, answered my question, calmed my nerves and found me a solution to my issue. He is very patient with his clients, after all these cases are very emotional and at times can be overwhelming and scary.
I could go on and on about Joe's great attributes . . . If you are looking for a strong, caring, knowledgeable and overall great family law attorney please give him a call. You absolutely will not regret it!
I had a highly complex case containing supporting evidence that ranged over nearly 20 years, with many thousands of individual documents supporting my case.
Joe and his team did an outstanding job of organizing thousands of documents for one of the longest court cases in San Bernardino divorce courts history with over 75 hours of testimony on my part.
His team wrapped things up in record time, considering the complexity of the case and the sheer volume of documents included. From the outset of the case, Joe's team were always completely prepared, Complex pretrial work took months of concerted efforts utilizing multiple team members.
Joe's skills were valuable in developing an excellent set of goals, knowing in advance the strategic and tactical elements of the overall case navigation from early 2009 through late 2011.
My case was dropped after I paid Joe (Lawyer) after he told me he wouuld help me and finish my case. Now there is only one matter pending he wants to charge me more. The case doesnt even require to go to court now. Just to make sure my last court order is completed. He is very knowledgeable but its all about the money then your forgotten! Very disappointed.
I was involved in a motor vehicle accident in 2010. Mr. Howington took on my matter even though he specializes in family law. His staff was kind and courteous and Mr. Howington always went out of his way to make sure that I was aware what was going on in my matter. If, heaven forbid, something should ever happen in my marriage, I would trust Mr. Howington to guide me through the process with the honesty and integrity that I experienced first-hand in my civil action. It is truly a breath of fresh air to speak to an attorney who tells me ‘how it is’ and not just what I want to hear. I would like to say thank you to Mr. Howington and staff. You were for me when I needed it most.
It's nice to know that my attorney is providing me with the representation necessary to get out of my marriage with as little complications as possible. And, although my legal situation has only just begun, my confidence in Mr. Howington is strong. Each person in his office understands my situation, they are encouraging and keep reminding me to stay strong during this troubled time. I am ready to proceed into the next stage of my life, with my daughter and without the wife. There is an end in sight and Joe Howington is my leader through this difficult time.