This is the last in my line of posts responding to the questions posed by Carla Schiff Donnelly in her article about hiring the right divorce lawyer. There, she poses several questions that a person should ask a divorce lawyer in the initial interview. Here is my answer to questions #7:
- Who in your firm will work on my case and how much will I pay for their time?
Our firm operates on a team basis – when you hire one of us, you get all of us. Michelle May O’Neil leads the team. She is a 21-year veteran family law specialist, well known for her ability to put together effective strategies in complex cases.
Katie Lewis, an 8-year law graduate of what is now Texas A&M School of Law (formerly Texas Wesleyan School of Law), is board certified in Texas family law and was named to the 2013 Texas Super Lawyers list in family law. She is one of the youngest lawyers to make this list. Katie focuses on the litigation side of the law firm’s practice.
Ashley Bowline Russell focuses on the appellate side of the O’Neil & Attorneys practice, where she is responsible for most of the legal research and brief writing in all cases at both the trial and appellate levels.
The firm has two outstanding paralegals. Christina, our senior paralegal, has worked for Ms. O’Neil for 14 years, and receives compliments regularly from clients for her attentiveness and compassion. Sandra received her board certification as a Texas family law paralegal and is well-known for her attentiveness to detail. Clara is our paralegal-in-training who assists in uncontested divorce cases and hearing/trial preparation on all cases.
The attorneys and paralegals each bill at different hourly rates, based on their level of experience.
Our team is rounded out by Robin, our firm’s administrator and new client coordinator, and Christopher our receptionist and file clerk. Neither Robin nor Christopher’s time is billed to the clients.
See my answer to question #1 How long have you practiced family law? And question #2 What is your approach to a new case? And question #3 What percentage of cases do you settle? And question #4 What is your approach to settling a case? And questions 5, 6 and 8 What retainer do you require up front? Is any unused portion of the retainer refundable? How often will I receive an accounting of my retainer?