How Should You Choose Your Family Lawyer?

Pretty much everyone seems to agree that there are too many lawyers around. (This actually isn’t true, but it definitely feels true if you know any unpleasant ones.)

And if there are too many lawyers in general, it follows that there are too many family lawyers—folks who focus on things like divorce, child custody, child support, and adoption. We are everywhere. On any weekday, I could throw a rock and hit a dozen, and that’s just in Little Rock.

I receive multiple calls a day from people who are looking for a family lawyer. Most of the time, the person hasn’t made a decision about who they’re going to hire—or even if they need to hire someone. The looming question in nearly everyone’s mind is obvious, whether they’re explicitly thinking it or not: “Who is the best family lawyer?”

The self-serving answer is obvious: “Me.” And there was a time (regrettably, not that long ago) when that would have been my answer. Having talked to hundreds and hundreds of people looking for a family lawyer, however–and having represented many of them–I’ve learned to be a little more honest. It’s just better to admit that a lawyer is not a one-size-fits-all thing.

There is no “best” family lawyer. There is just the one that is best for your situation. The “best” way to figure that out is to ask a bunch of questions, starting with some questions about yourself. (There’s also some questions you should ask the lawyer, but that’s for another day.)

I have never hired a family lawyer, but I think these are the questions you need to ask yourself:

  1. How important is it that I be able to get a hold of my lawyer quickly?
  2. How important is it that I know exactly how much I am going to pay?
  3. What is most important: Getting everything you want or getting most of what you want and preserving relationships?
  4. What is my best case scenario? If I could have anything, what would it be?
  5. Which two of these are most important: A good lawyer, a cheap lawyer, and a fast lawyer? You can only have two.