Choosing a Michigan Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce, it is extremely important that you find a great divorce attorney to advocate on your behalf. In addition to being your advocate, your divorce attorney will also be your counselor or advisor. After all, you’re paying for legal advice, right? Outlined below are some essential factors to consider when choosing your attorney in the greater Lansing area whether that be in Ingham County, Clinton County or in Eaton County.
Past Client Success
When deciding on a divorce attorney, a good indicator of a skillful one is how satisfied they have left their previous clients. The divorce process is never a joyful one, but some clients are left a lot more satisfied than others. Even if you don’t personally know anyone who has worked with a particular law firm, you can simply ask the law firm if they have any client testimonials. This way, you can learn what kind of experiences others have had with these lawyers. Today there are client reviews all over the internet. Look for sites like Avvo.com or Birdeye.com to see how others felt about the law firms in your area.
Our firm has had a lot of success serving people across all professions: other lawyers, police officers, teachers, professors, prison guards and physicians. Along with that, we have served many factory workers, government employees, housewives, mothers, various blue collar workers and students. We are proud to receive so many referrals from our past clients and even other attorneys from around Mid Michigan and indeed the entire country.
When clients become dissatisfied with their lawyer, it is most often due to poor communication. When going through a divorce, you need a lawyer who is prompt and available. Your lawyer needs to be ready to answer any question you may have so that you can make good, informed decisions through the divorce process. Of course you can ask the lawyer about their communication methods, but this is another area where it is best to ask about the experiences of previous clients. You will also want to make note of the lawyer’s physical accessibility. Does the lawyer have an office or work from home? Is the lawyer’s office professional looking and is there a support staff to assist with your case. Are there other lawyers in the office that can assist with your case when your lawyer is unavailable due to vacation, illness or other professional commitments?
You should note that the only lawyer that has lots of client testimonials is one that actually has extensive experience. Even then, you need a lawyer that has not just any kind of experience, but divorce and custody law experience. You are looking for a lawyer that has dealt with the local courts (this should be more specific than just the same state) and that knows the local judges. Once your lawyer gets to know the local judges first-hand, he or she can take the approach with the judge in a favorable way that can help you, the client. In sum, your lawyer needs to know the local rules and know how to enter your judge’s courtroom.
Right from the start, you should have an honest conversation with your lawyer about costs and fees. An experienced Lansing attorney will typically charge a considerable retainer up front along with hourly fees. Some things to consider when asking about fees are:
- What the hourly rate is
- How much of the retainer is refundable, if not exhausted
- How often the lawyer will send you an invoice
- How much detail each invoice will contain
Again, you can get more information through testimonials from previous clients. As with many other things in life, you usually get what you pay for with attorneys. Top level attorneys often charge more than attorneys with only several years of experience.
When it comes down to it, you have to meet your divorce lawyer and decide from there how comfortable you feel with him or her. Does your lawyer seem trustworthy and honest? Do you believe in your lawyer’s skills and abilities? If you have any qualms at all about your lawyer, then you need to move on to the next one. A divorce is too big a decision to leave in the hands of a questionable lawyer.