How to choose a lawyer

Choosing a Massachusetts divorce lawyer is more than just picking a name. It means establishing a sensitive relationship that can last for months.

Friends can be good sources of referrals, but be careful. You can’t pick a lawyer based only on someone else’s opinion. Try to meet with several Massachusetts divorce attorneys.

Write out questions before you meet, and pay attention to the responses you get.

Some questions to ask:

  • What percent of your practice deals with Massachusetts divorce law?
  • How long have you been practicing divorce law?
  • How do you keep current on changes in the law?
  • What is your policy on telephone calls, fees and billing?
  • How long will this take? What’s the basic process?

Did the lawyer really listen to you? Were your questions answered clearly, not in “lawyerspeak?” Did he or she take phone calls while meeting with you (not a good sign)? If the lawyer doesn’t have the time or patience to answer your questions and explain things to your satisfaction, continue your search.

Put a strong emphasis on your comfort level. To work together, you must feel at ease, especially in divorce, where so much is so personal. If you and the lawyer just don’t hit it off, trust your gut.

Am I better off with a big law firm?

For divorce, I truly believe a small office offers distinct advantages. In my office, you’ll always deal with me, not a paralegal or secretary. I have the latest software, and I’ve spent much time and resources on material on Massachusetts divorce law.

Can a large firm offer the following guarantees?

Accessibility guarantee. Most complaints about lawyers involve bad communication, particularly unreturned e-mails and phone calls. When you call my office, you’ll get me, not a secretary. I answer my own phone. No hiding, no screening.

Of course, I’m not always available. If you leave a message, I guarantee that I will return your call as soon as I can. All messages and phone calls are strictly confidential.

Appointment guarantee. You will not wait more than ten minutes beyond the scheduled time for any meeting. If you do, there’s no charge.