07 Apr How do I find the best family law lawyer?
Finding a family law lawyer is as easy as completing a single Google search. You’ll likely find several options in your local area. However, finding the best family law lawyer for your unique situation is a slightly trickier task. There are so many considerations to take into account that many people can become overwhelmed.
We’ve pulled together the steps you can take to ensure that you are finding the best family law lawyer for you and your family. And to ensure you get the best support during difficult times.
How do I find the best family law lawyer?
Step 1: Seek out an accredited family law specialist
Your first step is to seek out an accredited family law specialist. You want to start compiling your initial list or potential specialists who can help you. This may, in fact, be running a simple Google search. Or you may have family or friends that you can reach out to for a recommendation. Take any referrals from trusted professionals or friends seriously, particularly if they have personal experience. Their insight is invaluable.
Specialist accreditation goes beyond someone simply having experience in an area of law. Only solicitors who meet the set requirements by the Queensland Law Society are permitted to make this claim. Specialist accreditation is an advanced program where they demonstrate their skills in family law. It’s only after passing this they are able to be recognised as an accredited specialist in family law.
One fantastic way to find an accredited family law specialist is via the Queensland Law Society’s website.
Step 2: Meet with your prospective lawyer
Once you’ve narrowed down your list, determine your first choice. This is the first prospective lawyer that you’ll want to meet with. Make an appointment and attend a meeting (you may prefer a phone call, and that’s okay too). Ensure you feel comfortable with your lawyer, and confident that they’re across the matters that you’re dealing with.
Step 3: Look for a strong synergy with your family law lawyer
When you meet your prospective family lawyer, you want to ensure that you can build a strong relationship with them. You’re looking for synergy – which means that together you’ll be able to create a better outcome than either of you on your own.
In practice, you want to ensure that you don’t just like your lawyer. You need to ensure that they get you – that they understand your challenge, your matter and your desires and needs that underpin those things. Those are vital to ensure you sail through your family law matter with as much ease as possible.
Step 4: Ask questions
During your meeting, ensure you ask questions. There is no such thing as a silly question, and the best family law lawyers are always happy to answer all the questions you might have.
It’s important that you find a family lawyer who is also going to educate you on the law and give you practical advice on what is realistic.
The best family law lawyers will always give you pragmatic advice based on what is realistic and in your best interests. Your lawyer should be pointing you in the direction of resolving matters without an expensive and long drawn-out litigation process.
Step 5: Be inquisitive of legal fees
It’s often confronting to discuss money and costs. But this will play an important element in your final choice.
Your family law lawyer will generally charge an hourly rate, and these rates will vary depending on the firm, the experience of the lawyer and the market. For your first consultation, you may pay a single fixed fee, or some will be happy to meet with you for no cost.
When your work commences, some lawyers will charge via time costing. This means they will charge you their standard hourly rate in set increments. So, this may be $400 per hour charged at six-minute increments (which equates to $40 every six minutes). Time costing is typical, but you should understand that you will be paying for each meeting, phone call, email and all casework.
You may find some lawyers charge a fixed fee. This means you pay one fee for the work they have quoted you regardless of the number of times you speak with them or the volume of work your matter generates.
Regardless of the payment situation, be sure you ask your lawyer about it so that you understand and can budget accordingly.
Step 6: Seek a second opinion
Once you’ve met with your top choice, don’t forget to seek a second opinion. The best family law lawyers are always happy for you to go away, seek another opinion and do some more research. This is a relationship that you’ll be relying on. So, it’s important to get this right.