How do I choose the right Family Lawyer?
By Amanda Marsden, Senior Family & Estate Planning Lawyer, Calgary
Deciding who you want to hire as your family lawyer is one of the most important steps in any separation. You want someone who will look after your interests, without causing unnecessary conflict. Prior to retaining a lawyer, it’s important to consider several things, including:
Does the lawyer you are contemplating have the necessary experience to handle your file? It’s important to find a lawyer who specializes in the practice of family law. Family law is a niche area that is constantly evolving. New cases that change the landscape come out every week. A lawyer that practices exclusively in family law is likely to have the time to dedicate to keeping up on these changes. They are also more likely to have existing relationships with other family lawyers, judges, and arbitrators. It can be incredibly beneficial for your lawyer to know and understand the lawyer who will be representing your ex-partner. In addition, you should prioritize hiring a lawyer who intimately understands family law and all that goes along with it.
Find a lawyer who you feel comfortable talking to and who you feel understands your goals. You are likely going to spend more time talking to your family lawyer than you might expect. You need to feel at ease telling them personal information and sharing what may be sensitive stories. It would be unwise to hire a lawyer who makes you feel uncomfortable, or one who you feel isn’t really listening to you. An open and honest working relationship is essential for your lawyer to represent you properly.
Make sure you find someone who will give you an honest assessment of your case, as opposed to telling you what you want to hear. If a lawyer you are interviewing sugarcoats your situation, or suggests a path forward that you disagree with, they may not be the right lawyer for you. At the end of the day, you need someone who will give you straight answers, even though it may be difficult to hear.
Is this lawyer prepared to take on your file? Ask any lawyer you are considering hiring what their strengths and weaknesses are. Make sure you understand what type of practice they have and where they feel most comfortable. If you’re hoping for an amicable and uncontentious agreement, you probably shouldn’t hire a seasoned litigator. If you anticipate that your divorce will involve a high conflict parenting dispute, make sure your chosen lawyer is up for that type of matter prior to retaining them. Being honest with any potential lawyer regarding what your file is going to require and then asking them for an honest assessment of whether or not they are the best lawyer for you will ensure you hire someone who is up for the job.
At Crossroads Law, we have a wide range of family lawyers with a multitude of skills who can help you with your matter. Their experiences and background are listed on their bio pages which is an excellent way to learn more about your potential lawyer. Better yet, book yourself a free 20-minute consult today to see who might be a good fit for you.