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