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Tips for Selecting a Family Lawyer

Jun 04 2014

One of the questions which I am frequently asked is some version of “Does it matter which lawyer I use,” or “What is the best way to select a lawyer for my Family Law case.” My answer to the first of those questions is along the lines of “probably” (depending on what is at stake in the case and how much agreement has already been made by the parties to that case). My answer to the second one is that a referral from a trusted friend, coworker, or colleague is usually, in my humble opinion, the best way to choose a doctor, accountant, plumber, roofer, or (yes) a lawyer.

If that personal referral from someone whom we know and trust is unavailable to us, then what strategy should we employ to find a good lawyer? Well, doesn’t it seem like the opinions of people who have used a lawyer’s services would be valuable to us? Most of us agree with the proposition that the best predictor of someone’s future behavior is his/her past behavior. Think about it: most of us know certain people in our lives who have been there for us when we needed them; and others, who have been less reliable. Don’t we feel like we “know” that the first group of people would be available to assist us if we needed help in the future? What about the second group: do we feel comfortable that they would have our backs?

Applying those ideas to the matter of choosing a lawyer, the odds are that if a particular lawyer has generally satisfied his/her prior clients, then s/he will most likely satisfy future clients. Similarly, if a lawyer’s colleagues–other lawyers who have worked with or against that lawyer, recommend using that lawyer, then it is likely that the lawyer has done impressive work in the past, and so, will likely do so in the future. Now, of course, there are some people who are never satisfied by anyone; and others, who pose as a lawyer’s former client in order to bad-mouth a lawyer who represented another party in a case. Those folks can be expected to not speak well of a particular lawyer. The balance of opinion is what should be controlling. Does it look like a particular lawyer typically satisfies his/her clients?

Finally, looking at a lawyer’s Disciplinary Record with the State Bar of Texas might also yield helpful information about how responsibly that lawyer handles cases. Learning a lawyer’s Better Business Bureau rating might also provide useful information.

When choosing a lawyer, just like when picking any other professional for services, seeking-out the sound advice of people whom we trust should be our first step. If, however, we cannot obtain a recommendation that way, then we can look to the experiences of people who have previously worked with that professional. While not everyone is objective and of good motive, we know that the balance of opinion about that professional is important.

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The Heiman Law Firm provides professional family law services in cases such as divorce, child custody, child support, CPS, adoption and more. We have been proudly serving clients, primarily in Denton County, for over 25 years.

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