Guide to Hiring a Greenville NC Divorce Attorney
Choosing the right local divorce attorney is no easy task, but it is a critical first step in the legal process. When going through a separation or divorce, ask your co-workers, friends and family members for a referral. Most people know somebody that has gone through a divorce and you can learn a lot of helpful information by simply asking others for their input. Then, do your own research to fully explore your options.
Considerations to Keep In Mind
- Reputation in the Pitt County Community. As previously stated, the best information often comes from word of mouth. Ask people that you know and trust for a family law attorney recommendation in the Greenville area. If you know someone who has gone through the divorce process, ask them who they used and if they would return to that lawyer again. Without prying, ask them general questions about the value of the legal services and the legal fees incurred. Avoid lawyers that have a reputation of charging excessive fees or being all about the money. Similarly, avoid lawyers that are known to be cheap. Attorneys that charge low fees for their services operate on high volume and generally provide low-quality service.
If you know other lawyers or judges in Pitt County, they can be an excellent legal referral resource. For example, you may have a relationship with the real estate attorney who did the closing on your home, the criminal defense lawyer that handled your speeding ticket, or the estate planning attorney that prepared your Will. You may know a lawyer or judge that attends your church or that has a child that attends school with your children. If so, ask them for a recommendation. Most lawyers know in general terms the reputation, good or bad, of other lawyers in the community and some build a referral network routinely sending family law matters to a highly recommended attorney. If you know a judge, ask him or her for a referral. Information travels through the courthouse at lightning speed, and most judges are knowledgeable about the strengths and weaknesses of attorneys that practice in their district.
- Client Reviews and Testimonials. Before you hire an attorney, do your own research online. Read client reviews and testimonials by running a Google search on the lawyer in question. Read the lawyer’s reviews and ratings on Google Business (or Google Maps), Avvo, Yelp and social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Read each review from start to finish. You may be surprised how much information is available at your fingertips. Legal directories such as Avvo provide peer endorsements from other lawyers in the community, in addition to client reviews. Peer endorsements are valuable to determine how other legal professionals perceive the lawyer in question.
- Personality / Individual Style. Each lawyer has their own style based on their personality, experience and communication skills. In selecting the right lawyer, search for someone with integrity first. Hiring the meanest lawyer in town to handle your divorce is not the best practice and it’s simply not effective. In fact, the more you fight, the more you will pay in legal fees. Therefore, it makes good sense to be reasonable and objective throughout the process, rather than fighting over points of little significance. Watch out for the lawyer that employs a win by any means or scorched earth mentality. This type of approach may procure a short-term gain but oftentimes leads to hurt feelings and long term damage to an already deteriorating relationship between the parties making future dealings uncomfortable and co-parenting problematic.
- Lawyer Discipline. The North Carolina State Bar is the governing body that oversees lawyer conduct in this State. Disciplinary actions against lawyers are published in the State Bar Journal and available online on the NC State Bar website. Before selecting an attorney, run a quick search on the State Bar website to determine if there are any past or pending disciplinary actions against the lawyer in question.
- Avoid Lawyers that offer Free Consultations. It’s been my experience that you get what you pay for when it comes to family law attorneys. Be wary of any attorney that offers a free consultation. Most of the time, a free consultation is nothing but a sales tactic to get potential clients in the door resulting in poor service and bad advice. To put it simply, it takes a lot of time and energy to develop the proper tactical strategy in most family law cases. Attorneys who give free consultations generally quote you a fee and send you on your way with no further information. Instead, you need an attorney that will listen attentively to your goals and aspirations, and devise a strategy tailor fitted to your individual needs. So unless you want to be herded like cattle through the lawyer’s office and given a one size fits all solution to your legal problems, don’t be afraid to pay for the initial consultation. It’s worth it.
- Avoid Lawyers that make Guarantees regarding the Outcome of Your Case. Be leery of attorneys who over commit and under deliver. In fact, no lawyer can guarantee the outcome of your case or the results they can obtain. In other words, it is unethical (and a violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct) for a lawyer to say, “Pay my fee and I’ll get you custody” or to make any other promise or guarantee. On the other hand, it is permissible for the attorney to tell you whether or not you have a strong case for primary custody, for example.
Contact the Pitt County Divorce Attorneys of Irons & Irons P.A.
When you are facing a divorce or child custody situation, you need to know your rights are being protected and the choices you are making will leave you well situated for you and your family’s future. To schedule an initial consultation, call our experienced family law attorney, Gib Irons, at 252-215-3000 or fill out our contact form below. Protecting your Privacy ~ Your privacy is our primary concern. At Irons & Irons P.A., we understand the importance of protecting your privacy and will never share your contact information with a 3rd party.