Choosing a Pittsburgh Divorce Attorney
Why is hiring a divorce lawyer so important?
The single most important decision you will make in your family law case is choosing an attorney. Family law can prove to be extremely complex, and when emotions run high, the situation becomes even more difficult. Whether you are facing a divorce, dealing with domestic abuse, or in the midst of a custody battle, who you choose to defend you could considerably alter the outcome of your case. Skipping the strings of self-congratulatory adjectives that usually come next, choosing the right family law attorney comes down to these five components, with some questions to consider:
Family law is the most personal and sensitive area of law. It is vital that you feel personally and professionally compatible with your attorney. Personal connection and comfort are even more important in highly sensitive cases. Will this person care about your case? Do they explain things clearly? Will they be reachable and responsive? Do I feel comfortable discussing my case with this attorney and the staff? Does the attorney calm or stress me? Does this attorney seem honest?
There is no substitute for professional experience, competence, and efficiency. Years of practice, focus on family law, and individual capabilities all factor into expertise. How focused is their practice on family law? How many years of experience does my attorney have? Does my attorney sound like he knows what he is talking about? Does my attorney seem knowledgeable?
Efficiency x Rates = Affordability. Efficiency is how quickly your attorney can get things done. A good attorney will be careful not to underlawyer (not prepare adequately) or overlawyer (add unnecessary layers of complexity). What are the rates? Can their rates change in middle of my case (ours do not)? How efficient does this firm seem? Am I concerned this attorney might overlawyer or underlawyer?
Nothing else matters if your attorney cannot get things done. Does this attorney have effective advice? Does this attorney have a plan? Does this attorney seem to oversell the likely outcome of my case? How strategic does my attorney sound? Does my attorney seem to be someone other attorneys would trust? How practical is my attorney?
The Other People
Although you hire the attorney, you will likely deal most often with the staff on a day-to-day basis. The ideal situation is being passed around to as few people as possible and having those few people be highly competent, responsive, and experienced. Fewer people serving your case equal more personal attention. How many people will I need to talk to? How competent is the staff? How responsive? How personable? What are the staff rates? How personally comfortable am I with the staff?