ASK FAMILY AND FRIENDS FOR A REFERRAL Many times a person has dealt with an attorney for estate planning or other matters. That attorney may have an associate or an attorney in another office that they refer persons to when dealing with family law matters. If an individual or another attorney is willing to make the referral, then it means they have some experience with and or confidence in the attorneys abilities.
RESEARCH Do an online search on any attorney before setting a consultation. Look to see what areas they practice in. Do they primarily focus on family law/divorce work? Does the attorney practice in your county?
Prior to Consultation
CALL Call to schedule an initial consultation, do not just show up at the office. You should expect a prompt response to your phone call. If you do not receive one, keep calling around.
MAKE A LIST Always keep a pad of note paper handy and write down your questions prior to coming in for a consultation.
CALL If you will be running late, call to advise. This simple courtesy will set a good tone to the relationship. If something comes up with family or work and you can not make the appointment, call and leave a message, even if it is in the middle of the night.
TAKE NOTES Take notes at your meeting. You can not expect to remember everything you are told so write down the information.
ASK QUESTIONS Be sure that you understand the business end of the arrangement. Ask about the retainer, how it is earned by the attorney and if you can get any funds returned. Ask about the hourly rates. What is the attorney's rate and the rate of any associate or legal assistant. Be sure you understand the increments in which you are billed, such as 6 minutes. Find out what method of payments are accepted.
DISCUSS COMMUNICATION Be sure to discuss how you are to be communicated with, by phone, by email, etc. Also, be sure to note if you DO NOT want calls at work.
After the Consultation
READ THE FEE AGREEMENT Your attorney should provide you with a written fee agreement. Review it carefully to be sure that you understand your obligations.
RETAIN COUNSEL WHEN YOU ARE READY Do not feel pressured into retaining counsel. Absent an emergency, you should have time to consider your options before paying out a retainer.
INTERVIEW MORE THAN ONE ATTORNEY You should interview more than one attorney if you are not satisfied with the advice you have received. The payment of a second consultation now can save a lot of time and fees in changing counsel later.