One of the better-kept secrets among matrimonial lawyers is that if you do your homework, you can find high quality divorce lawyers at wholesale prices. If the local high priced attorneys are outside your budget and your case is not unusually complex, it’s well worth the effort.
So who are these bargain babies? They are lawyers who:
- Have practiced exclusively in the family law field for at least the last 5 years
- Have been trained either at a top “boutique” firm that handles only matrimonial
cases, or in the matrimonial department of a larger law firm
- Are still firm associates and thus charge substantially less than the firm’s partners
- Typically combine the following desirable attributes:
- Youthful energy
- A more empathetic relationship with their clients than many “hardened” veteran lawyers find time for
- Mentorship by senior partners who rank among the best family lawyers in the area
- Family law experience which exceeds that of many general practitioners who
have been practicing far longer
A good way to begin your search for one of these lawyers is on the website of The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML), a national organization of highly skilled and respected divorce lawyers.
Go to www.aaml.org/find-a-lawyer and select your state to get the names and contact information of AAML members there. That will give you access to quality family law firms in your area. Then go to those firms’ websites and check out not the AAML lawyers themselves (who are typically high-priced) but the associate lawyers in their firms who fit the description above.
Those associates have been mentored by accomplished matrimonial law partners. Their youth belies the range of family law experience they have gained in just a few years working on the firm’s cases—one reason they are not yet charging higher hourly rates. And on matters like yours that the associates bring in themselves, top-notch advice is available just down the hall. All of this is not to say that some firms don’t charge “aggressively” for their associates’ time. To measure that, familiarize yourself with local lawyers’ hourly rates by calling some matrimonial lawyers and asking folks who have recently divorced in your area. That will help you narrow hone in on the bargain table that offers high quality representation without the hourly fees that usually accompany it.
Legal fees are high just about everywhere, so it’s worth looking for whatever discounts you can find without sacrificing quality.
Learn much more about saving money in divorce
in Larry Sarezky’s new book
DIVORCE, SIMPLY STATED, available at amazon.com