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Advice from a Matrimonial Attorney on How to Choose the Best Attorney for Your Divorce

Advice from a Matrimonial Attorney on How to Choose the Best Attorney for Your Divorce

Interviewer: So of the divorce attorneys out there, I’m sure people will shop around and talk to different ones when they decide. Let’s say you were facing divorce, how would you know which attorney to hire versus which one not to hire? What signals would you look for when you are consulting with various attorneys?

Attorney Helfand Advices Using a Common Sense Approach When Seeking a Divorce Attorney

Tanya: I would go with the lawyer that made sense. If the lawyer promises you too much or the lawyer’s talking about getting revenge or things of that nature, I would stay away from that person because that’s not what divorce is about at all.

The Right Divorce Attorney Should Have Expectations Similar to Their Client

I would look for somebody that seems to care and is businesslike about the process more than interested in hurting the other party. Look for a divorce attorney that seems realistic and reasonable and one that where you’re expectations meet their expectations.

The Right Divorce Attorney Should Share Your Values

I think that’s really important that you and your divorce lawyer be on the same page and have the same values.

The Right Divorce Attorney Will Care More for Their Client than for Billable Hours

Interviewer: It seems like there’s the urban legend of the bloodthirsty divorce lawyer that will help you take the other party for all they’ve got, is that realistic? I mean are there those people out there or that pure fiction?

Tanya: There are definitely lawyers out there that care more about the billable hours than about resolving the case for the client.

There are techniques to try and wrap a case up and settle it more quickly than in a slower fashion. Certain lawyers, their companies, especially some larger firms, have billable hour requirements for their lawyers. You have to bill X amount of hours. So if you can settle a case in a couple of hours you’re not necessarily meeting your quota.

So I think that’s a conflict of interest. I definitely do, and, you know, unfortunately the layperson may not know what is actually occurring in those types of situations.

As a Small Firm, Attorney Helfand Prefers to Concentrate on Helping Her Clients Receive Fair Settlements and Maintains Her Reputation without Worrying about Meeting Quotas for Billable Time

But in my firm, what’s different is for one thing, it is a much smaller firm. We do expect to get paid for our time. Sometimes divorces do take a long time because you can’t settle them right away; however, our goal is always to help people get a fair settlement.

So if it can be done quickly it will be done quickly. I’m not looking to bill out the hours. I’m more focused on my reputation and afterwards, I want somebody to refer me for the next case. I would much prefer to have a referral than accrue as many billable hours as I can on this case.

The truth is also, and I’m not trying to knock big firms, but people get a tremendous sense of confidence from being with a big giant firm, but at the end of the day, it’s really just the lawyer you’re with. It’s not the letterhead.

It Is Advisable to Be Proactive During Your Divorce Case and Work with Your Attorney towards a Settlement

So you have to be proactive in your case. You have to think about trying to settle your case. You absolutely have to think about ways to settle your case. You have to work with your lawyer to try and settle the case, and if the lawyer is responsive, then you are being successful.

I don’t think lawyers that do look to bill hours out without settling the case as expeditiously as possible are going to tell you that straight out. Because I am an attorney, I can tell from my end when they’re doing that. Just as you have to trust your doctor to do the right thing, you have to trust your lawyer to do the right thing as well.

You May Discover That There Is an Emotional Component in Choosing an Attorney to Handle your Divorce

Interviewer: So there’s an emotional component to choosing the right attorney for your divorce case?

Tanya: Yes and you have to go with your instinct and you have to go with what makes sense. And that’s pretty much it. It’s not an easy system. Most divorces are not quick and painless. There is some level of pain that you have to endure, usually.

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  • "Without Tanya and her time, the really unpleasant experience of getting divorced would have been even worse. They were able to settle the matter very quickly and helped me fit this into my tight schedule allowing me to leave to move abroad for my dissertation research on time without having to delay the trip because of the divorce. They also did all of it within my very tight budget. Thank you so much for your help and dedication to my legal matter!"  - AG

  • "Tanya and her Associates are outstanding! What I admire most about Tanya is her knowledge of the law with her keen negotiation skills to foster mediation. Her strategies efficiently resolve conflict leading to the resolution of cases. She and her team have an outstanding work ethic, know what data are needed, and get the job done. It is a pleasure to work with such wonderful professionals."  - Tara, Whippany

  • "I found Ms. Helfand's knowledge and tenacity most reassuring during the ordeal of my divorce. She was steadfast in her guidance and was very effective in her negotiations on my behalf. I would recommend her without a second thought. "  -Jonathan

  • "Ms. Helfand was very professional and helpful with our bankruptcy case. Her advice was very useful and helped us make the proper decisions for our situation. In addition, she was very supportive during a very difficult time for us. Finally, she set very specific fee expectations and there were no surprises when it was completed. I would use her services again and would recommend her, without question."

  • "She is Incredible, very quick responding to the other party. Very professional and courteous. I highly recommend her. She has a great passion and love for every single case."

  • "Tanya and her team were very professional handling my divorce proceedings. She was very proactive in making the other attorney finally get the process moving forward. I would recommend her to anyone looking for legal services. "  -Scott

  • "Ms. Helfand strategized & processed, both, my Divorce & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. As both cases were emotionally and legally challenging, Ms. Helfand proved to be an empowering Mentor along the path to clarity for which I am truly grateful. I highly recommend her legal expertise to anyone who is seeking a confident, savvy & caring attorney to become at peace with self and any legal matters."  -Vas

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