5 Key Qualities to Look for in a Family Law Lawyer
Family law can be a sensitive and emotional area of the legal field. It requires high interpersonal skills to effectively communicate and help clients work through challenging situations.
Look for an attorney who communicates empathy and cares about your case. They should be prompt to update you, patient when explaining, and accessible for questions.
Excellent Communication Skills
A family law lawyer must be able to communicate with clients. This goes for both written and verbal communication. Clients can be emotional, and a good family lawyer knows how to keep them calm and focused so that they can make the best decisions for their case.
Family lawyers must also be able to negotiate with both sides of the case. This is especially important for divorce and custody cases. Family lawyers often work with clients in vulnerable situations, and a good family lawyer can help them find common ground.
Lastly, a good family law attorney must be objective about their cases. This means they must be able to tell their clients when the law is on their side and when the law is not.
Strong Negotiation Skills
The sensitivity of this practice area means that family lawyers are often on the frontlines, guiding clients through difficult domestic relations and legal issues. This demanding field requires dedication, compassion, and an unwavering ability to prioritize their client’s best interests.
Having strong negotiation skills is important for a family law lawyer. They must assess a case’s strengths and weaknesses and create a realistic strategy. They should also be able to identify when a client is making unrealistic threats or completely misunderstand the law.
They must quickly build trust and rapport with clients, explain complex legal matters in easy-to-understand terms, and negotiate powerfully. They should be available to their clients and promptly return phone calls and emails.
Many legal clients have to change attorneys midstream due to dissatisfaction with their representation. This is typically rooted in needing proper due diligence when selecting an attorney or in need for effective two-way communication between the lawyer and client.
A good family law attorney will diligently follow up with clients and answer questions promptly. They should be able to schedule in-person meetings as needed and make themselves available for consultation meetings at reasonable times.
The best family lawyers will also be objective when analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of your case. They will understand that divorce cases are rarely black or white and will give you options for resolution. Ideally, it would help if you chose a lawyer who trusted family members and friends recommend.
The legal issues in family law impact people on a very personal level. Individuals need an attorney to empathize with them and treat their situation carefully. This is evident in how an attorney communicates with clients, including being prompt in updates, patient in explaining, and accessible for questions.
Being empathetic also means that a family law attorney can set professional boundaries when necessary. This is important because it can be easy to become so immersed in a client’s emotional story that you lose focus on legal matters. This can lead to burnout and unfavorable court results. Family law attorneys must be able to set their emotions aside and remain focused on the case at hand.
Knowledge of the Law
One of the most important qualities for a family law lawyer is knowledge of the law. The law is complex and changing, so thoroughly understanding the latest laws and how they affect your case is crucial.
In addition, a family law attorney should be able to develop creative options for settling legal issues related to divorce, child custody, and alimony. There is rarely a black-or-white issue in these cases, and your lawyer must offer reasonable options for resolving the matter.
The best way to become a family law attorney is through education and experience. A four-year undergraduate degree, followed by three years in law school to earn a Juris Doctor, or JD, degree is the minimum requirement.