Finding the best divorce lawyer is a two-pronged answer. First, you want to find a divorce attorney with whom you have a good rapport. The old adage, “Different strokes for different folks”, certainly applies here. For instance, do you want an attorney who takes complete control of your circumstances and case, one that makes decisions for you? Or do you want a lawyer that forms more of a partnership with you? Answering this question is very important before you begin to inquire about the reputation of the divorce attorney whom you are about to hire. Once you get a sense of what type of approach you want your lawyer to take, seek the counsel of your trusted advisors, such as your CPA, your business attorney, or your therapist. I am big on references. To take that a step further, you can also contact the state bar organization in your state to find out if there has been any disciplinary action taken against that person; complaints or any warnings issued to him or her from the state bar.
Once you have done your due diligence in making sure your divorce attorney prospects are in good standing, my advice always is to make an introductory appointment with the divorce attorneys that pique your interest. Once you make that first visit, ask questions. Inquire as to how they would handle your case. Also ask about his or her specialties. For instance, do they handle mostly child-custody cases, or is their expertise in financial matters? In my book, Divorce: It’s All About Control-How to Win the Emotional, Psychological and Legal Wars, I describe in detail seven lawyer types: the “warrior”, “parent”, “wimp”, “lazybone”, “egomaniac”, “bait and switch”, and “partner”. As you read this chapter, you will gain a better understanding of what type of lawyer suits your needs and with whom you will be comfortable and, of course, what type to avoid at all costs.
Stacy D. Phillips is a co-founder of Blank Rome LLP, which specializes in high-profile family law matters. She is a Certified Family Law Specialist by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.