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Picking a Family Law Specialist

Picking a Family Law Specialist

By Jeff J. Horn – Divorce Attorney

Picking a Family Law Specialist

Picking a Family Law Specialist Should You Hire a Divorce and Family Law Specialist? Benefits & Drawbacks. When is a Specialist Not Necessary? Are you considering hiring a Divorce and Family Law Specialist? Learn the benefits and drawbacks of picking a specialist, as well as when a specialist is not necessary. Get informed on the advantages of having a lawyer who knows the law and has relationships with the judges and court staff, as well as the potential downsides such as cost of representation and the specialist‘s possible busy calendar. Understand if you need a specialist or if a general practitioner is sufficient for your case.

Your lawyer will counsel you and fight for you.  Those two tasks are frequently in conflict with one another.  When you and your lawyer are planning the steps of your case, deciding upon the reasonable goals based upon the known facts, determining how far to investigate and responding to correspondence, offers, or threats from the opposing side, your lawyer is counseling you. Picking a specialist will improve the chances of the lawyer knowing the law and having the relationships with the court.

Should You Hire a Divorce and Family Law Specialist?

The word “specialist” has long been prohibited for use in lawyer advertising.  The lawyer ethics police believe that the public is not savvy enough to make determinations about hiring.  Although lawyers typically cannot use the word “specialist” several states have certification programs that permit a lawyer to designate a particular specialty.  The lawyer must have a certain number of years of experience in the field of specialty and must pass an examination.  

You may be surprised that relatively few lawyers know the law.  This sounds worse than it really is.  A common joke among family and divorce lawyers is that the practice is rather thin on the law and thick on emotions.  Skilled family and divorce lawyers revel in the opportunity to utilize the combination of statutory and case law to advance their client’s position whether in or out of court.  Utilizing a person specializing in a particular legal area will certainly improve the chances of the lawyer knowing the law well.  A specialist will also likely have relationships with the judges and court staff.  This is not likely to gain you an advantage in a fully litigated matter; however, in the case of close call, human nature dictates that an honest and reputable lawyer will present the matter with skill and credibility. 

There can be drawbacks to hiring a specialist.  Family court is an extremely busy place. Your family and divorce law specialist will almost inevitably have other cases on the day that your case is called for routine calendar calls and for pre-trial motions. Also, cost of the representation can be a major issue. The specialist will typically charge more per hour and, quite possibly, more overall than the general practitioner. 

When Picking a Specialist Is Not Necessary

The lower asset, lower conflict case can be resolved without lawyers who specialize in family and divorce law.  Over time, the practice of law has become highly specialized.  Competent general practitioners still regularly participate in family and divorce cases.  If you are unlikely to have many legal issues popping up in your case and you and your spouse are both ready to resolve your case, you will not need a specialist.


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Thanks to Horn Law Group, LLC intern Noah Hilsdorf.