One of the main pieces of advice that I give anybody who comes in to see me is, whether you hire me or someone else, make sure that you hire somebody who deals exclusively in the area of family law. There are just so many issues to keep up on in the divorce practice; not only do you have custody issues and support issues, you have pensions and the division of those, you’ve got business valuations. There are just so many issues that need to be kept upon, and someone who’s doing something else, such as an estate-planning attorney, personal injury attorney, real estate attorney, they’re only well-versed in one or two of those areas. Those of us that do nothing but this all day long, we keep up on all of the law as it relates to anything that may impact our clients.
Additionally, it’s an availability issue; people who practice in other areas are tied up in other trials or before other judges, whereas lawyers who practice exclusively in the family law area, who are in court or in the same courthouse every day, we know all the judges who are going to make the decisions regarding your cases and what their proclivities and tendencies are, and we also know the opposing attorneys – the other attorneys who do this – and all of that can work to your benefit in having somebody who is very experienced within that realm of practice.
Janet E. Boyle is a partner at Boyle Feinberg Sharma in Illinois.