How To Find the Best Divorce Lawyer in Town
It’s a trick. There is no “best divorce lawyer in town” – or anywhere else.
There are many types of divorce case: uncontested, contested, negotiated, mediated, litigated, military spouse, high-dollar marital estate, complex issues, domestic violence issues, child custody/parenting issues, spousal support issues, pension plan division, spouse’s whereabouts unknown, etc. Obviously, multiple categories can exist in one case.
No divorce lawyer will be the “best divorce lawyer in town” in every type of divorce. Even within types of divorce, individual lawyers will perform differently at different times, depending on the diverse facts of each case.
So, you shouldn’t want to know how to find the best divorce lawyer in town. Instead, you want to know how to find the best divorce lawyer in town for you and your case!
That means you want a divorce lawyer who will adapt willingly to you and your case. You should not have to conform your case to some lawyer’s rigid policies on how every divorce must be handled or to a traditional retainer fee and billable hour pricing structure – particularly when your case is uncontested (70-80% of divorces) and can benefit from modern family law techniques like online divorce, virtual law practice and unbundled (a la carte) legal services.
You’re trying to find the best combination of cost, representation and services, based on the circumstances of your case.
So how do you find the best divorce lawyer for you? Well, you’re in luck. This website exists only to assist you in finding the best divorce lawyer for you.
1-800-DIVORCE has been connecting divorce and family law consumers to savvy, creative, competitive, problem-solving local divorce lawyers since 1991. We keep our eye on divorce industry trends (both good and bad) and we keep our own policies updated in terms of only doing business with the most competitive and creative divorce lawyers nationwide and in your town.
And our valuable pre-screening and divorce lawyer hiring advice is completely free to you, the divorce consumer.
You can either go directly to the geo-localized 1-800-DIVORCE links at the bottom of our home page or continue reading here for more information.
What To Avoid in a Divorce Lawyer
If you have made the difficult personal decision to end your marriage or domestic partnership or to seek other family law relief, the first step will be to find the best divorce lawyer for you and your case. This is an important decision that will affect all future outcomes in your case.
We’ve listed below three specific things you should avoid when hiring a divorce lawyer. Those 3 factors will rule out about 95% of available local divorce lawyers. Then we list two factors to look for that should reduce your short list to 2 or 3 divorce lawyers only in most cities.
Then we provide a valuable bonus consideration that really should make your decision quite easy. These factors will help you make a great divorce lawyer hiring decision.
While it’s helpful to read and understand the information provided below, remember that 1-800-DIVORCE has already performed this analysis for you.
We’ve done the work for you. You can go directly to access our recommended local divorce lawyer. But it is a good idea for you to be involved in and understand the analysis by reading on.
So here are the three factors to avoid:
Me-Too Divorce Lawyers
“Please hire me. “I’m just like every other divorce lawyer.”
The first thing you’ll notice in your search for the best divorce lawyer for you is that there are way too many divorce lawyers. And they all look and sound the same.
When you spin the roulette wheel on Google or Bing search by searching for “divorce lawyer [name of your town],” they will show you mostly mass lawyer-finder directories such as Google Screened, GMB (the map), Yelp , Avvo, Lawyers, SuperLawyers, Justia, Expertise, FindLaw, etc. All of those directories will look identical in Google and Bing Search.
You will basically have to guess which one to click on. And you can click on several of them. It won’t matter. They’re all the same. They are all essentially advertising systems. Their business model is not helpful to your plan to find the best lawyer for you. Their brand is enhanced when you hire the most expensive divorce lawyer, not the best one.
Their brand does not suffer when you hire a divorce lawyer who does a poor job in your case. The 1-800-DIVORCE brand either benefits or suffers when you hire our single recommend best divorce lawyer for you. 1-800-DIVORCE has a huge incentive to make sure that we only permit the best divorce lawyers to participate in our valuable branding.
No matter which lawyer directory you choose, all divorce lawyers listed on those mass lawyer-finder platforms will look and sound exactly the same. So then you’ll have to spin the roulette wheel once again on the lawyer directory you guessed at. So how does that help you?
You will then notice that each mass lawyer-finder directory insists on identical-looking lawyer profiles on its platform. That is so that the directory can charge additional advertising fees for the few lawyers who are willing to pay more for higher placement in the directory listings. The directory must ensure that all lawyers look the same, so that the only difference between them is the higher-paid positions at the top of the page where most consumers will look first.
So the most expensive divorce lawyers are those who appear at the top of the directory’s pages. They are the ones that you are most likely to see and contact. They are the most expensive divorce lawyers because they have to recover higher case acquisition costs before they make one dollar in profit. Using a mass lawyer-finder directory is not a wise method of selecting a divorce lawyer. The directories are not your friends.
If you hire a divorce lawyer from a higher position on a lawyer directory like Avvo, the first $200-$400 (on average) you pay that lawyer effectively gets paid to the lawyer directory. You pay the case acquisition cost, and you get nothing in return.
Additionally, there’s no guarantee that you’ll even get a good divorce lawyer. There is no correlation between the better divorce lawyers and those you’ll see at the top of the lawyer directory pages. Those are simply the lawyers willing to pay more to get cases. The better divorce lawyers have plenty of client testimonials and referrals (more on this later). They don’t need to bid on cases.
It is not a good idea to use mass lawyer-finder directories to find your divorce lawyer.
To be clear, you should not disqualify a divorce lawyer from your search just because s/he has profiles on mass-lawyer finder websites like Avvo. Those services are free to the lawyer and they get some exposure. So it’s not a bad idea for a lawyer to participate.
However, you should definitely disqualify a divorce lawyer you ONLY see on Avvo and similar. If they take no further steps to set themselves apart, they are not proving anything to you about how they will handle your case. Why would you entrust your future legal and economic interests to a lawyer who does not even look after his or her own economic interests?
Lawyers who are “Jack-of all Trades”
“Hey, we do a little bit of everything, you know? We try to get ANYONE to hire us.”
Click away from a website that advertises family law, criminal law, immigration, bankruptcy, worker’s compensation, estate planning, personal injuries, etc.
A lawyer who is a “jack of all trades” (they refer to themselves as “full service” or “general practice”) is undoubtedly a master of none. A “jack-of all-trades” lawyer should not be handling your divorce or any other family law matter.
Each field of law is specialized. Each field of law is unique and requires a different approach to thinking about it and acting in the best interest of the client.
After a lawyer has been working on a DUI case or personal injury case for a few hours, you don’t want that lawyer to pick up the phone to you to discuss your divorce case or child custody issue. They are different specialties and require completely different thought processes from the lawyer.
You’re looking for a divorce lawyer that specializes in family law.
A lawyer who specializes in family law will be more successful for you than a general practitioner who doesn’t.
Unproved Lawyer BS – Show Me, Don’t Tell Me
“I think I’m a great lawyer, and you should too.”
This is not a smart legal marketing position to take. Take a look at the websites of each divorce lawyer to find out what they have to say.
They should be telling you your own story – about how you will move from your current unhappy and difficult family situation to a better place in the next chapter in your life.
This is not something that many divorce lawyer websites do. It’s difficult. They don’t have a detailed understanding of your specific circumstances.
However, if they were willing to look at common problems in divorce and tell you how those common problems can be resolved fairly and equitably, that would be valuable to you.
They cannot, and should not, guarantee outcomes, but they can provide generic advice about given example situations so that you can see how their strategic processes might work in your case. They’d have to issue severe warnings about the fact that any such advice is NOT advice in your specific case, but it would be valuable for them to demonstrate how they analyze given factual family law situations.
This is a lot for a divorce lawyer to think about and a lot of work. There is some risk involved also. Many divorce lawyers won’t do this work. Instead, they tell you a story. But it’s not your story. It’s their story. It does not prove anything and it doesn’t demonstrate any strategy or value to help you.
Nearly all divorce lawyers websites will tell you that they’re “aggressive,” good listeners, and dedicated to case resolution. They also typically promise that they will treat your case as if it were their own. So what?
The problem is that almost all divorce lawyers will tell you the same unprovable bits of puffery about themselves. None of those claims can be proven. They mean nothing to you. They provide no evidence of analytical or strategic ability. So how do such claims assist you at all?
To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong with a divorce lawyer website having a catchy slogan. They have to say something.
However, if the entire website is self-praise and self-serving claims that they can’t prove and you cannot disprove, move on.
If the lawyer expects you to believe their unproven claim about how great s/he really is, he/she will expect you to also believe other unproven claims later in your case. Don’t listen to that lawyer. It’s a very weak and needy strategy. Don’t hire or educate such lawyers.
How to Find the Best Divorce Lawyer in Town
The 3 factors to avoid (see above) will have disqualified approximately 95% of local divorce lawyers from your search. Now, how to look at the few local divorce lawyers still eligible to be hired by you? How to nail down one of the most important decisions in your life.
Above, we used unprovable self-serving claims to rule out the bulk of divorce lawyers. Now, look for proven claims as to how a divorce lawyer is very likely to handle your case.
You look at the way each of the local divorce lawyers on your short list manages his or her law practice. Why? Because how they manage their own business is the same way they will handle yours.
Lawyers tend to use the same level of intelligence, diligence, insight and creativity to manage their businesses as they do when looking after clients’ interests. It’s natural to do so as a normal professional effort.
So look at the following two components to evaluate how each divorce lawyer manages his/her business:
- genuine client testimonials from third-party sites that verify that those testimonials aren’t fake (ignore claimed testimonials that are only on the lawyer’s site); and
- whether or not the divorce lawyer in question has clinched the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE brand in your town.
There’s not much to say about client testimonials beyond that they must be real and legitimate testimonials of actual clients who have completed their business with the divorce lawyer. Read them and follow your gut to get a general impression of the divorce lawyer’s professional qualities.
The 1-800-DIVORCE factor is a powerful statement one way or the other about whether the divorce lawyer in question is bold and decisive and has set himself or herself apart from the local lawyer-crowd. You do not want a divorce lawyer who blends in.
1-800-DIVORCE is the most trusted family law brand in the entire world. Consumers of divorce love to call it, click on it, and then refer through it.
American consumers know the importance of having a national brand that is available locally. 1-800-DIVORCE provides divorce consumers the comfort level of knowing that their local divorce lawyer is also part of a national network with standards it must and will uphold in order to maintain the value of the brand.
Divorce consumers also understand the value of the brand to the divorce lawyer who has signed up as the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE attorney in each town.
There can only be one 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer in each market area. That lawyer experiences a significant financial boost from 1-800-DIVORCE. The brand brings him or her more cases at a lower cost of acquisition than any other local divorce lawyer who spends approximately the same on marketing.
Consider how smart, bold, creative, competitive and problem-solving that 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer was to acquire the best family law brand in the world to the exclusion of all other local divorce lawyers. Aren’t those the qualities you are looking for in a lawyer to handle your divorce?
Exclude me-too divorce lawyers who only stand in line at lawyer directories. Exclude “jack of all-trades” lawyers. Exclude divorce lawyers who BS you with unprovable self serving claims on their websites without proving anything to you about themselves and their qualities.
Consider verified testimonials from prior clients.
Consider whether any divorce lawyer on your short list is also the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer in your town. If so, that divorce lawyer has already proved his or her acumen to you – without saying a single word. That lawyer has shown you, not told you.
Bonus Factor – The Referral Game and How to Play It To Your Advantage.
Divorce lawyer referrals are great for everyone involved. They are like super testimonials.
The friend, neighbor, or colleague who gets your future divorce lawyer referral receives a valuable indication of how a specific divorce lawyer will very likely perform from someone who already knows.
And referral business is absolute gold to the divorce lawyer who receives it. It is free business. There is no case acquisition cost. And your first referral doubles your value to that lawyer, your second triples, etc. You become extremely valuable to that lawyer – but only if you refer.
Your divorce lawyer knows all of this far better than you do. S/he also knows (but won’t ever mention it to you) that s/he must do a real good job for you in order to get your future referrals.
While your future divorce referrals may be the last thing on your mind right now, they should not be. This factor can assist you to get the best performance out of your divorce lawyer right now and the best result possible in your divorce or other family law matter.
You should not ignore it. You should use this leverage to your advantage. It greatly changes the balance of power between you and your divorce lawyer in your favor.
However, while referring a friend or colleague to a divorce lawyer is a great idea, you can’t do it unless you have a way of getting your referrals to the lawyer. You’ll likely forget the lawyer’s name soon and you won’t likely carry around his or her email or local phone number, but you’ll never forget 1-800-DIVORCE.
In fact, your local 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer signed up to be the exclusive 1-800-DIVORCE lawyer in your town not just to attract you in the first place but also to get your future referrals.
So, it is a very good idea to politely, quietly, but firmly and seriously mention to your divorce lawyer that you have many colleagues and friends who will likely need family law services in the future. Tell him or her that you hope you will be able to refer them to him or her through 1-800-DIVORCE.
Your divorce lawyer will understand exactly what you mean. This will ensure that you receive his or her best possible efforts at all times.
If you take advantage of the divorce referral game, your case will be resolved as well as it can be. Your divorce lawyer will work hard to receive your future referrals through 1-800-DIVORCE. It’s a great deal all around. Take advantage.