I had a two hour consultation with Mr. Lastra concerning my pending divorce and custody matter.
I have multiple children with my spouse, including a stepchild from their previous marriage whose life I've been a part of since they were very little. Shortly into our meeting, Mr. Lastra asked me about my children and whether our relationship was biological, and then explained very compassionately that - unfortunately - if it were contested by either or both of their biological parents, he would not be able to guarantee me custody of or access to my stepchild as a de facto parent. He assured me that if he were representing me and I truly did want to pursue it against all odds that he would do everything in his power to help, but cautioned that it would likely be a long and costly uphill battle with an uncertain outcome.
As heartbreaking as that was to hear, Mr. Lastra was the first lawyer to really prioritize and ask about my concerns for the children rather than choose to focus on my spouse and our finances and marital property. His honesty about that - the one outcome I care most about - gave me peace of mind that he wasn't just telling me what I want to hear to get me to sign his retainer.
Additionally, while his consultation was not free, without my even having to ask, Mr. Lastra was extremely considerate of my budget. At the very beginning of the meeting, he verified the hourly rate that I had been quoted previously and told me how long his consultations with other people typically lasted. Then, every twenty minutes or so, he was kind enough to let me know how much billable time had elapsed and allowed me to set the pace of our discussion accordingly.
Throughout the rest of our meeting, Mr. Lastra was both extremely inquisitive and educational. Rather than simply listen to my account of events, he engaged frequently, asking regular questions and taking notes. He also shared a wealth of his own knowledge, pulling from both general law and process as well as experiences gained from similar cases he'd handled in the past. During our consultation, I felt both well listened to and that I was speaking with an obvious expert.
Prior to our meeting, I had discussed this matter with a few other lawyers, and while they were all quite professional and empathetic, none of them felt like they were being as realistic with me about the possible timelines, outcomes, costs, and the availability of themselves and their associates to adequately represent me and my family's interests as Mr. Lastra did. Though his rates are above average, my first impression from my consultation is that there is very good justification for it. He has absolutely earned my endorsement.