Assuming that you have several prospective divorce lawyers in mind to handle your divorce or custody case, you must investigate the qualifications of each attorney. Before investigating the qualifications of each attorney, you would be wise to set the bar on the minimum qualifications that are acceptable to you. An attorney's qualifications in the following 5 areas will help you in your investigation.
(1) Percentage of practice devoted to family law
(2) Years of experience
(3) Certified specialist
(4) Law school and education
Percentage of practice devoted to family law
An attorney's percentage of practice devoted to family law will help you assess how much experience and expertise he/she has with divorce and custody related issues. An attorney whose practice is 100% devoted to family law issues, such as divorce and custody, will likely have more expertise and familiarity with handling such cases than an attorney whose practice is not 100% devoted to family law.
Years of experience
An attorney is often valued by the number of years of experience they have in a particular area of law. The more years of experience an attorney has in family law, the more they can typically demand for his/her fees. Further, the more years of experience an attorney has with divorce or custody cases, the more likely he/she has worked on a case similar to yours and help you learn what you can likely expect and what the costs will be.
Is the attorney a certified family law specialist? Some attorneys may seek to become a certified family law specialist by demonstrating extensive experience and testing in the field of family law. There are certainly attorneys with experienced and expertise in family law that have not sought out to become a certified family law specialist. Attorneys that advertise themselves as "certified specialists" may demand a higher fee.
The fact that an attorney graduated from a prestigious law school does not necessarily guarantee that he/she is more qualified and more experienced in the field of family law than an attorney that has not graduated from a prestigious law school. The law school is however still something worth exploring because it may demonstrate how serious, dedicated, and committed the attorney was to his/her education. Additionally, some attorneys may have various education such as being a Certified Public Accountant or Licensed Clinical Psychologist. You will need to determine the value of the different education an attorney has and the cost that may go along with it.
An attorney that has taken interest in the field of family law will often have memberships to organizations in the field of family law. Some memberships are available to any lawyer and some memberships are more difficult to obtain. An attorney that does not have any memberships to organizations in the field of law can often create doubt in the consumers mind about their interest in that field.
The information above about an attorneys qualifications can often be found through the State Bar website or through the Bar Association. As you seek to know more about an attorney's qualifications, it is ultimately up to you to investigate the attorneys qualifications and set the bar on the minimum qualifications that are acceptable to you.
© 2006 Child Custody Coach
Child Custody Coach supplies information, written materials, online materials, and coaching services to parents in the field of child custody, namely, divorce, child custody and visitation, divorce, child custody evaluations, parenting, and all child custody related issues. Custody Match is an online consumer and family law attorney matching service to help consumers find the right family law attorney, divorce lawyer, or child custody attorney in their area.