Not just any lawyer, the best lawyer.  It is certainly understandable that someone who suddenly needs a lawyer to end a marriage would want to find the best one around. It’s not only part of our competitive nature, but it’s also common sense.

When trying to find the best lawyer for you, wherever you are, here are some things to consider.

1. You need to define what makes a lawyer the best one for you. What are the most important qualities that you are looking for? Do you want a business-like personality or someone who is very personable and casual? Do you want a very structured attorney or a more laid back approach? Some lawyers are abrasive and others are instantly your best friend. You should get to know something about a lawyer’s personality and approach to practicing law.

2. Another stylistic option is whether you want a decision-maker or an option-developer. Some lawyers get the facts of the case and then start telling clients what to do. Other lawyers help clients develop a variety of options and then assist them in choosing a course of action. Some clients just want to turn over their legal matter to their attorney and let the attorney take care of it. How involved do you want to be?

3. What is the financial range of fees you are comfortable with? Generally, the more experience or more demand there is for a lawyer, the higher the fees will be. More expensive lawyers aren’t always the best, but they often are much better than inexpensive lawyers. If your case is very complicated or unusual, you may want to hire an experienced attorney, but make sure you can afford the attorney. Even among very good attorneys, there will be a range of fees that they charge.

4. Do you want or need a trial lawyer or a settlement specialist? Don’t assume that you necessarily want to take your case to trial. Likewise, you shouldn’t assume that your case will be settled. It is true that most family law cases settle, but some have to be tried. You should consider both approaches and find out how prospective lawyers view your case.

5. Sometimes, location can be a consideration. You generally want to hire a lawyer in your own county, or wherever the suit is located. But, you may or may not have to go to your attorney’s office very often after the attorney is hired. Much of the contact between lawyers and clients takes place via email or by phone or fax. However, you probably should hire someone local who is familiar with the local courts, judges and courthouse personnel.

Hat tip to Dick Price for his April 15, 2011 post

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Photo of Michelle O'Neil Michelle O'Neil

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes…

Michelle May O’Neil has 27 years’ experience representing small business owners, professionals, and individuals in litigation related to family law matters such as divorce, child custody, and complex property division. Described by one lawyer as “a lethal combination of sweet-and-salty”, Ms. O’Neil exudes genuine compassion for her client’s difficulties, yet she can be relentless when in pursuit of a client’s goals. One judge said of Ms. O’Neil, “She cannot be out-gunned, out-briefed, or out-lawyered!”

Family Law Specialist

Ms. O’Neil became a board-certified family law specialist by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1997 and has maintained her certification since that time. While representing clients in litigation before the trial court is an important part of her practice, Ms. O’Neil also handles appellate matters in the trial court, courts of appeals and Texas Supreme Court. Lawyers frequently consult with Ms. O’Neil on their litigation cases about specialized legal issues requiring particularized attention both at the trial court and appellate levels. This gives her a unique perspective and depth of perception that benefits both her litigation and appellate clients.

Top Lawyers in Texas and America

Ms. O’Neil has been named to the list of Texas SuperLawyers for many years, 2011-2018, a peer-voted honor given to only about 5% of the lawyers in the state of Texas. In 2014-2018, Ms. O’Neil received the special honor of being named by Texas SuperLawyers as one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in Texas, Top 100 Lawyers in Texas, and Top 100 Lawyers in DFW. She was named one of the Best Lawyers in America for 2016 and received an “A-V” peer review rating by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directories for the highest quality legal ability and ethical standards.

Author and Speaker

A noted author, Ms. O’Neil released her second book Basics of Texas Divorce Law in November 2010, with a second edition released in 2013, and a third edition expected in 2015.  Her first book, All About Texas Law and Kids, was published in September 2009 by Texas Lawyer Press. In 2012, Ms. O’Neil co-authored the booklets What You Need To Know About Common Law Marriage In Texas and Social Study Evaluations.  The State Bar of Texas and other providers of continuing education for attorneys frequently enlist Ms. O’Neil to provide instruction to attorneys on topics of her expertise in the family law arena.