It is simple for a lawyer to pick out what lawyer they would want to represent them in a divorce, because as attorneys we can see skills and representative needs in ways that a lay person who is not familiar with the law cannot. Sometimes as well, a client may come to hire us but we may not be able to take their divorce case for a variety of reasons, such as a conflict with a party or a trial date, price considerations, or our caseload is too large. Here are some tips I give to these people and things I look for in an attorney before I refer another client to them.

1. Does this attorney practice and have experience in the requisite practice area.
I am not going to advise someone with a divorce to go to an attorney that is a general practitioner or practices primarily in another area. It is simply impossible to keep up with every area of the law. This is especially true with divorce. It is very important that your divorce lawyer has experience in the particular court your divorce will be filed in because each judge has their own way of doing things, and I have seen so many lawyers who don’t practice divorce law regularly screw it up for their client accidentally right out the door. The judges in Nashville have different ways of doing things than the judges in Sumner County, and so it is very important that if you are getting divorced in Nashville your divorce lawyer knows the Nashville courts. Sometimes the attorneys don’t even realize they have messed up if they don’t appear in the court often. If there is a competent divorce attorney on the other side you are done for before you even got started.

2. Does the style of the attorney match with your goals.
Different attorneys have different styles. Some divorce attorneys are known for settling cases, which if your goal is to avoid trial at whatever the cost, this would be a fit for you. Other divorce lawyers will take the case to trial no matter what, as they can’t seem to settle a case to save their lives. If all you want to do is drag it out as long as possible and price is not an option, that would be a much better fit than an attorney they frequently settles their cases. Most people need a combination of the two. The Nashville divorce lawyer I most frequently send my conflict cases to will get a case settled but is not afraid to try it and will get the job done in the court room or mediation depending on what the case requires, just like I do, which in my opinion is the sign of a good divorce lawyer.

3. Can you afford this attorney?
This is a difficult thing for clients to figure out. Many see the hourly rate and the retainer and use that to determine whether they can afford the attorney but in actuality that does not tell you much about what the divorce lawyer will charge for a divorce in Nashville overall. Some attorneys have higher hourly rates, but do a great job using their paralegals and work very quickly, which actually results in a lower bill than the general practitioner who has to do 5 hours of research any time something comes up in your case. Also, some attorneys work with you to keep your divorce costs down and will let you help with your case. For example, we will allow clients to assist us in going through discovery responses to narrow things down so that you do not have to pay for 5 or 6 attorney hours. The last thing your divorce lawyer wants to do is spend his or her Saturday working on your case only to have to wait a year for you to finally pay it off.

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