We’ve talked about some of the things you should consider when deciding which attorney to hire. Here are a few things that should NOT influence your hiring decision:
- Appearance. You don’t want the hot lawyer, you want the good lawyer. They might be the same lawyer, but don’t make your decision based on that.
- Age. Some people assume that a younger lawyer is not as smart or experienced, or that an older lawyer either IS more experienced or is likely to be less attentive. Lawyers, like snowflakes, are all unique. The age of the practitioner can mean any number of things based on who they are. Don’t use age to rule someone out or in.
- Gender. If you feel more comfortable dealing with a man or a woman, fine. But don’t assume that one will necessarily give you an advantage or disadvantage in the courtroom. No, having a female lawyer may not make you more sympathetic in front of a judge if you are a man. It may work that way, depending on the judge, but since you have no idea what judge you will be dealing with, you could have the reverse problem. And no, a male lawyer will not necessarily be more aggressive or assertive. All the stereotypes fall apart when tested. So unless it’s a matter of your personal comfort, don’t use gender to make your choice.
- Office space. Some incredible lawyers I know work out of their homes. Or out of small, tightly packed offices. Some really bad lawyers I know work out of palatial offices with space age looking coffee machines. Don’t make assumptions on a lawyer based on the size or construction of the office. Organization of the office can be an indicator, however. If there are files packed floor to ceiling that have an inch of dust on it…be afraid. You might wind up on the bottom of that pile.
- Swag and swagger. Don’t make a decision based on fancy graphics on their website or the cups they ordered from Café Press with their name on it. Also, don’t select a lawyer only because they tell you they are that good. They might be, but they might also just be that self-absorbed. A lawyer with a bad attitude will eventually most likely turn it on you, too.
Take these things into consideration before making your decision about hiring an attorney.
–Excerpted from Lynda’s new book, Breaking Up: Finding and Working with a New Jersey Divorce Attorney.
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The above is not specific legal advice nor does it create a lawyer-client relationship. Do not rely upon it without consulting an attorney to see how the information presented fits your unique circumstances.