Characteristics of a Good Family Lawyer

Unfortunately, in our society consumers often assume all lawyers are the same.  In marketing speak, we say lawyers are somewhat “commoditized,” meaning that they are basically interchangeable.   Because consumers mistakenly believe that one lawyer is as good as the next, many people mistakenly presume that hiring the cheapest lawyer is the way to go.  However, all attorneys are not created equally.  Skill in court, tenacity, workload management, and many more factors contribute to successful lawyers. Good lawyers share some common characteristics.  

Listens to You

Most lawyers are very Type A personality. Consequently, many times lawyers do most of the talking during a consultation about your case. How can a lawyer build effective strategies for your case if he or she doesn’t listen to your story?  When a client hires a lawyer, a good lawyer should have a clear vision of what victory looks like for the client. There’s only one way to get that information: listening to the client. Additionally, as the case progresses, the client’s needs may change.  So ongoing communication between the client and lawyer is a must.

Focuses on Family Law

The Texas Family Code establishes the law applied in family law cases.  The Code contains hundreds of provisions regarding divorce, child support, possession and access to the children. However, there is more to family law than just the Code.  Previous rulings from the Texas Supreme Court and various Courts of Appeal and numerous local rules make practicing Family Law challenging for any lawyer.  Be wary of lawyers whose billboard says “Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Probate” or some similar combination.  Who wants a lawyer who is minimally proficient in all sorts of cases?  Better to have a lawyer who is really good at a specific area.  Family law is complex. You want a good lawyer who devotes the time and study necessary to be good at family law.

Manages the Calendar

In most family law proceedings include several hearings or major events during the case. Obviously, a good lawyer should maintain the firm’s calendar to make sure he never misses a court date.  However, the firm’s calendar is also how the lawyer makes sure the client stays current on the events in the proceedings.  The client should know when all the major events are scheduled, and plan accordingly.  A client should never be surprised that he or she must take a day off of work for a court appearance unexpectedly.  When the firm manages the firm’s calendar, it saves time and money for the client.

Manages Client Funds

Legal matters are unusually expensive compared to most events in normal life.  However, savvy lawyers take action to help mitigate the client’s expenses.  Avoiding unnecessary processes, hearings, and documents help minimize costs. Of course, some costs can’t be avoided.  In those situations, good lawyer keeps the client informed of upcoming costs and works to make sure the client has plenty of money on deposit to fund the needed work.  When a client gets a huge bill from his or her lawyer and is completely surprised by the amount owed, that’s a sign that the lawyer failed to manage the client’s funds responsibly.  While big invoices are not unusual in legal work, the client should be well aware of what is getting billed.  Likewise, the client should be able to make decisions that will have big financial consequences before the legal work is done if the lawyer is actively managing the client’s funds and communicates the costs associated with the options in the case.

Builds a Custom Strategy for the Client

No two clients are the same or have the same needs.  Consequently, no two clients should get the exact same processes in their case.  Any firm that operates off a checklist of processes to be performed for each and every client is likely producing numerous unnecessary and expensive billable events the client must pay for.  Building a custom strategy for each client prevents unnecessary billables and keeps the cost down for the client.

Check lists, policies, systems, and procedures are appropriate within a firm for managing client cases.  In fact, firms that use checklists as a method of staying on top of client cases are less likely to be caught by surprise in a case or miss deadlines.  However, rigidly following a checklist to produce the same work for each client produces unnecessary work and billing.

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Our Firm

Youngblood Law, PLLC is a Fort Worth, Texas family law firm focusing on helping people get through the divorce process so they can get on with the rest of their lives.  This essay is intended for educational use only, and is not a replacement for competent legal counsel.  If you are facing a family law matter, we recommend obtaining competent legal counsel like Youngblood Law, PLLC.  For more information contact us at 817-601-5345, find us on the web at www.youngblood-law.com,
Paul Youngblood #beforeyournext #lawfw #youngbloodlawpllc #beingdivorceddoesntsuck

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