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Posted by Tanya, a Child Support client, Flag
To begin I will simply say that Julia Hagan is a skilled, experienced attorney who understands family law very well. That is not in question. Do I think there are other skilled, experienced attorneys who are better communicators, more sensitive to amicable resolution of emotional family issues and more efficient and considerate with how they spend their time? Yes.
The short version of this review:
At the end of the day Julia did help produce all of the legal documents and filings that were necessary to assure my and my co-parent’s legal rights and obligations. From that perspective she did a satisfactory job; however, I cannot, in good faith, recommend Julia to anyone who desires a quick, matter of fact, and amicable resolution to their family law matter.
The long version of this review:
Julia’s firm was recommended to me by a friend who had used an attorney there. My friend’s attorney was not available and I was referred to Julia Hagan. I needed to make a quick decision as my daughter had been born with colic and I didn’t have much time for research. I hired Julia Hagan in September of 2009 as a lawyer to help make sure that the i's were dotted and t's were crossed on any legal filings necessary for my daughter's father and I to co-parent. My relationship with my child's father when I hired Julia was amicable and cooperative.
Julia's approach with me, my co-parent and later opposing counsel was often combative. By the time the case settled a year later (!!) relations between both co-parents were incredibly tense and we arrived at a settlement at the 11th hour in a Multnomah County courthouse. I could hardly believe things transpired this way and often felt Julia was not communicating effectively on my behalf; however, I was too tired and frazzled from running a business and raising a very fussy baby to look for another attorney.
Julia was expensive. In the interest of full disclosure, she gave me a discounted rate and many “courtesy discounts”; however, she was wasteful and inefficient. Here are several examples of why I would not hire Julia or the firm of Guwurtz Menashe again:
1. September, 2009 - Julia insisted I use Lorah Sebastian to mediate my and my co-parent’s parenting plan. Julia billed me $104 in one month alone for calls and messages she made to Ms. Sebastian. I also attempted to reach Ms. Sebastian twice by voicemail. She never returned my calls. When I went to Ms. Sebastian’s Web site I found out she costs nearly $200 an hour! Capable mediators are available for free through Multnomah County. Julia persisted with several more attempts to call Lorah Sebastian while I sat in Julia’s office during conferences. A friend told me about the free mediators through the county. My co-parent and I went that route with great success.
2. April, 2009 - Julia’s firm sent my bill (addressed to my child’s co-parent) to the co-parent’s home. He opened and read the bill.
3. Julia often asked me to resend documents that I had already sent to her such as: universal support affidavits, child care expenses, owner’s draws from my business, and unreimbursed medical expenses. Julia billed me for time spent reviewing the documents, but in the conferences that followed, she would ask me to resend them. She seemed to have little recollection of the original documents –prompting me to wonder how valuable and extensive her earlier reviews had been. When we spoke about documents, particularly those involving money or dates, I would sit there as she calculated and recalculated –making rudimentary arithmetic errors and eventually coming to the same conclusion that could have been made by reviewing the original documents I sent.
4. February, 2010 - Julia billed me $52 for reading a, literally, one sentence email wherein I told her that the co-parent’s name was misspelled in a document that she had drafted! That’s right. She charged me $52 for correcting her type-o. Though this is a tiny example, there are many of these types of small inefficiencies. One of the