How to Hire the Best Divorce Lawyer in Indianapolis
5 Must-Ask Questions before Hiring Your Legal Counsel
If you are trying to hire the best divorce attorney in Indianapolis, then there are a few questions that you should ask a potential legal representative.
#1. How many years of experience does the lawyer have?
Remember that experience matters - a lot. Consider this: If you were having surgery, would you be more confident in a new graduate or a surgeon who has had several years to perfect his or her craft? In the legal profession, as with anything in life, there is no substitute for experience. When choosing a lawyer, make absolutely sure that they have a minimum of three years of focused experience in family law. Remember, it takes no real skill to learn and know the law on paper. What matters most is the amount of experience that lawyer has had applying the law in the local court and in real-life situations.
#2. How are the law firms practice areas divided?
Take a look at the areas of law that the prospective lawyer practices. What percentage of the practice is devoted to criminal defense, personal injury or family law? Many lawyers offer these as just one of many areas of practice. If the law firm or lawyer offers a laundry list of practice areas, remember the old adage about being a "jack of all trades and master of none." Before you hire an attorney, make sure at least 1/3 of their practice is devoted exclusively to your needed legal area. You and your case deserve focused attention.
#3. Does the lawyer offer a free consultation, either on the phone or in person?
Would you consider buying a car without test driving it? Most people wouldn't. When making an important decision like purchasing a car, you want to hear the engine, test the brakes, and ask questions of the seller. Hiring a lawyer should be no different. Call and ask to speak directly with the lawyer.
- Are they willing to spend time learning about your problem or issue at no charge to you?
- Do they seem genuinely interested on the phone, asking questions and gathering information?
- Does the lawyer offer possible solutions or ideas, or do you get a lot of "uh huhs" and pressure to make an appointment to retain them?
Family law cases are incredibly important. You owe it to yourself and your family to make sure you choose a lawyer who is willing to take the time to listen and understand your issue - before you commit to hiring them.
#4. Is the lawyer active and involved in the legal community?
This may not seem like much of a consideration, but this factor is actually very important. Take a look at the website for the prospective lawyer.
- Is he or she a member of any legal associations or organizations such as the Indianapolis or Hamilton County Bar Associations?
- Have they been invited to speak or make presentations for legal organizations or groups?
- Have they authored legal articles?
- Do they volunteer within the legal community?
- Do they have any specialized training such as being a registered domestic relations mediator, a collaborative professional, or guardian ad litem?
A lawyer who has chosen to be involved and active within the legal community is not only exhibiting a genuine interest in family law but is also more likely to be current with the most recent legal updates and trends within the legal community. Make sure to read the biographies of the lawyer you are considering hiring - and be sure that person is active and well integrated within the legal and greater community as a whole.
#5. What does their website look like? What about their office?
Lawyers who take pride in their work will take pride in the appearance of their website and their office space. Set aside an adequate amount of time to read and browse the website. Is the website full of broken hyperlinks and misspellings? Is the information outdated and stale? A law firm that takes great care and devotes energy to a fresh, informative website may be more likely to be attentive to your legal needs as well.
What about the office space? Drop in unannounced and ask to speak with the prospective lawyer. How were you greeted? Was the staff smiling and happy to see you or were they annoyed and irritated? Pay close attention to the surroundings as well. Are there random files lying around, miscellaneous documents strewn about, and general clutter everywhere, or was the space calm, controlled, and organized? The way a law firm cares for the working space may be indicative of the kind of work you can expect from the law office.