The Good: they are fairly honest, strong advocates, bright, compassionate (but never mistake a lawyer for a counselor) not creating drama to prolong your case. They see through the crud and get you to a reasonable settlement in decent time. They even return your calls within a reasonable time. Like the rest, they might rarely return your emails for cost or liability issues, but they do read them.
The Bad: They’re not skilled with efficient language and not up on case law; they don’t read the personalities well in a divorce case, and they respond poorly and in untimely fashion. They may be overworked (yes, they really need that second shore house) so they’ve over booked themselves. He or she may not work well with your spouse’s attorney (whish costs time and money) which is critical to move things forward.
The Ugly: They may be responsive, but they add drama and confusion in a number of ways to drag things out or complicate matters. They don’t give you basic information, which leaves you to ask stupid questions which they can bill to answer. They are client driven – meaning they’ll follow your lead, knowing you’re going ignorantly through a jungle called divorce you’ve never visited.
Best Bet: Take the time to find a good divorce lawyer, which is much easier said than done. Interview several for free if they’ll let you, but the better ones often charge. Don’t ask legal staff – they most often are trying to pull in business.
Opt for the collaborative process, if you think your spouse will be fairly amicable – it’s less adversarial, costly and time consuming. Visit divorce support groups for referrals – and ask detailed questions.
Resources: to find a good lawyer? There’s the million dollar question. They’re experts at hiding negative comments/ratings on the internet. But Martindale Hubble http://www.martindale.com/ will give you some background on them. Avvo http://www.avvo.com/ will offer some rating system (you might assume the higher ratings can’t be all that bad, but watch for number of comments. If only one or two who knows who those are. Don’t expect to see negative comments posted). Avvo will give you the wonderful option of asking a lawyer for advice. Finding bad lawyers – check with your state bar association for complaints.
My very best wishes on getting good representation!
Clint Eastwood, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly trailer: http://search.yahoo.com/search?fr=chr-greentree_ie&ei=utf-8&ilc=12&type=198484&p=you+tube+the+good+the+bad+and+the+ugly