Family Law And Estate Planning Services
Your first appointment with a lawyer can be scary, even intimidating to think about. Too often clients wait until it is too late because they are too afraid or shy to take that first step. Unfortunately waiting, when it comes to legal matters, is never a good idea.
Therefore from the very first moment we meet, whether it is on a phone call or a quick in-person appointment, I try to make my clients feel at ease. Those first 30 minutes are essential to building a strong rapport, and understanding whether I can help the client with their needs, whether we will be a good fit for each other, or whether the best thing I can do is refer them to a different office or specialist.
In estate planning and family law, the branches I focus on, that first contact and the ongoing relationship that evolves from it are essential. Because family law and estate planning matters are so personal and hit so close to home, my client needs to feel trust and care from the very start.
Our first contact is all the more essential because the next steps, engagement letters, forms, and other legal or bureaucratic i’s to dot and t’s to cross are often so impersonal (yet equally important).
Your Guide To An Attorney-Client Relationship
I want this book to act as another first point of contact to help establish that essential attorney-client relationship. It is especially aimed at clients who do not know what to expect from a relationship with an attorney. And will be particularly helpful for anyone who has struggled to understand what an attorney can do for them or what an attorney-client relationship should look like in a family law and estate planning context.
Ideally, by reading this book, you will get a feel not just for what I can offer you, in terms of legal services and accompaniment, but what the attorney-client relationship and interactions are like more generally, as well as my personal philosophy and approach to building that relationship.
The First Hurdle: Finding The Right Attorney
Even before you walk into a law firm’s office or pick up the phone for that first introductory interview, you somehow have to choose one, often from among dozens if not hundreds of potential individual lawyers and law firms. This choice alone can be intimidating, but should never stop you from picking one.
Therefore before we delve into how that relationship will unfold, here are some tips for choosing the right one. Starting with one clear rule of thumb: pick your lawyer like you would pick a doctor.
Qualifications And Experience To Look For When Hiring An Attorney
Same As You Would For Hiring A Doctor!
While few people have experience visiting lawyers, almost everyone has had to consult doctors. The first step is the same, you need to make sure that you are hiring an attorney in the right field by clearly identifying what your legal need is.
Say you wish to have a will drawn up. While there are lawyers (like doctors) in “general practice” who can do that, what you really need is someone experienced and specialized. You would not go to a general practitioner to treat your eyes, you would go to an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist. In this case, you are looking for an estate planning lawyer or law firm.
You always want to choose someone who practices primarily in the area you need, as their expertise guarantees you more efficient and effective service. Therefore you want to find someone for whom it is the basis or foundation of their practice.
You will go through the same process if you need to have a divorce, you will want someone with years of experience focusing on divorce cases. Not just because they will be more competent, but also better positioned to understand the hardship and emotions involved in your ordeal. Therefore you would want to find someone that practices in the area of family law.
Prioritize Attorney Experience
Finally, you should look for someone with considerable experience handling exactly your kind of problem. You wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who was right out of medical school, indeed, doctors usually train with a hospital for many years before they strike out on their own.
You want to go to someone who has been in practice for some time so that they have that experience. Such a lawyer will have learned the ups, downs, ins, and outs of the law and local courts, as well as the personal and emotional sides of these cases so that they can handle yours with confidence and care.
Thus the very minimum you should look for is an attorney who has been in practice in the specialized field you need for at least five years.
Attorney Red Flags And Warning Signs
When looking for an attorney, all of the following can be warning signs and should be avoided:
- An attorney with little to no experience. We already talked about why some experience is helpful, no experience can be dangerous. Attorneys should always have had a few years working at a law firm before opening their own.
- Avoid the lowest-cost firms, or attorneys competing on price alone. The law is not a place to cut costs or corners, and the quality of both your service and the relationship an attorney is willing to build matters greatly.
- Avoid online, low-cost, or no-hassle “solutions”. There are some places where you can, for instance, get your will done “in minutes”, including online. These services are never going to be able to capture the specific nuances of your situation, and could very well result in major problems later.
For example, if you have someone in your family who has special needs, they will require a special needs trust. Those are the kind of details that you’re not going to get from someone who is either very new or is just handing you a form that you are filling out for the lowest possible price.
Just like with a doctor, if it’s too good to be true, it is probably snake oil. Look for someone who is not brand new or advertising the lowest price. Those are the two things that you want to stay away from.
With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Estate Planning & Family Law, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy. For more information on Estate Planning & Family Laws in Colorado, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (719) 988-3884 today.