Finding A Divorce Attorney: The Basics

You’ve made the decision to get a divorce,  Let’s not discuss the reasons why.  If you have any doubts, then this post is not for you.  I can’t give you advice on whether to stay or go. Go see a mental health professional, talk this over with a trusted friend, or read one of the many books on the topic.

Most articles and books suggest asking a friend for recommendations.  That’s what I did and found the lawyer and law firm who has been representing me for almost 10 years!

Every person’s situation is different and so their divorce will be.  Just because your friend got certain results, does not mean that you will.  All  lawyers  have different personalities and experiences. This  and other factors need to be considered when choosing a lawyer.

Once you have the names of prospective attorneys, check  to see if they fit your style by using doing the following before you call for an appointment.

1.  Google Them
Be sure to put the full name in quote marks, plus either the word “attorney” or the name or the word “divorce” in order to get more precise results. Results may include the attorney’s or the firm’s website, articles,  and/or  references to awards, such as “Super Lawyer.”

2.  Go to Google Scholar
This little known feature of Google allows you to search for legal articles or court opinions. Type in the attorney’s name or law firm,  and sort by date or relevance.

3.  Check the ARDC
The ARCD  is the Illinois agency that monitors attorneys who do unethical or illegal things to their clients.  Check to see if they are in good standing or have proceedings pending. ARDC stands for the “Attorney Registration & Disciplinary Commission”. The website has a search box: “Lawyer Names.”  Enter the name of the lawyer, click through on the correct name and scroll down to the end of the record to see it there are any past or pending disciplinary actions.

4. The firm’s  or lawyer’s website
Read what the firm says about itself and its practice. Some have a tab for news articles. Often they will include articles or blogs that are written for the public. Be aware that the firm’s website is basically a marketing tool for them.

5.  LinkedIn and FaceBook
Is  the attorney on  LinkedIn or have a Facebook page?  If so, review these for information and clues about their experience or specialties.

This is a type of “Zagat” site where attorneys are rated by their clients.  It has been slow to get off the ground, but worth a check to see if anyone has rated one of the attorneys you are considering.

Some other places to look for a lawyer
Referral services

Disclaimer:  This is not legal advice and should not be taken as such.

Filed under: Lawyers

Tags: ARDC, Google


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  • There have been two trials, an appellate court decision affirming the original trial decision, numerous other hearings, depositions and more. And it is still going on!

    I'm curious what this is all about. Are you willing to share more about what happened here? 10 years of litigation must have some root causes, can you give us some detail?

  • In reply to gpldan:

    Thanks for asking!

    Of course. I want the readers of this blog to understand a little of the context of my situation.

    I am not here by choice. By "here", I mean almost 10 years on in divorce related litigation. I have tried and tried to settle this but each of us is so far apart from the other's viewpoint, that the only way to resolve the issues is through litigation.

    The first trial was the original divorce trial which decided issues of property and support. The second and most recent trial/hearing was the result of his motion to reduce or terminate my support. It was reduced based on his decline in income.

    I have accepted the reduction and have no plans to appeal. That should be the end to our litigation, but it is not. He is already contesting that decision.

    There is a dark side to divorce proceedings that few talk about. For example, there are spouses who use the stressful divorce process to wear down the other spouse. The law may be on your side [as it is for me] but if the other side wants to litigate until the cows come home, there is little to stop him or her.

    Does this help? I am just getting my blog "legs" so please come back often to read future posts and learn more.

    You can sign up now to automatically receive new posts by email.

    I also have a Twitter account at @divorcechicagos

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