No matter what legal situation you may be facing, when it comes to choosing a lawyer, experience matters. But it’s more than just the years that count. While all attorneys complete the same degree program (Juris Doctor) and they share a language that sounds quite foreign (i.e. legalese), there are worlds of difference between law practice areas. Your attorney’s experience in family law heavily impacts his or her ability to protect your best interests and those of your children in divorce and custody proceedings. A lawyer who communicates with you in language you can understand and who can fully explain all aspects of your case and the judicial process is the kind of lawyer you should hire.
An attorney’s experience in a particular practice area allows him or her to gain familiarity with common processes, documents and people involved in the court system. To understand the significance of that familiarity and how it may benefit you, the client, let’s look at two different attorneys.
Spread Too Thin
Attorney A is a jack-of-all-trades type of lawyer. His practice areas include criminal defense, family law and civil litigation. The laws, statutes and precedents, even the premises on which these areas of laws are based, are very different. In a criminal defense case, the client is presumed innocent; the burden of proof is on the prosecution. In a family law case, however, there is no “innocent” or “guilty” party. There are best interest standards that are only generally outlined by law and case precedent.
No one person can keep all the laws, case defense strategies, motions, etc. straight among these various practice areas. That is not to say that Attorney A will get so confused that he will refer to an arraignment hearing as a temporary orders hearing or seek out witnesses for a breach of contract case. But Attorney A will likely need to consult references and do research quite frequently, which means that he may not always know all the options available to work towards his clients’ favorable outcomes, and the extra time devoted to the case could increase the client’s bill.
Because Attorney A will appear before different judges and be introduced to hundreds of opposing attorneys in the criminal and civil systems, he may never become really familiar with any of them. He will not be able to adapt his case strategy based on a judge’s reputation; he will not know which prosecutors favor plea deals or which lawyers push civil litigation cases to trial.
Although Attorney A may have years of experience, his limited experience in any one practice area may mean that cases take longer to resolve and may cost clients more money.
The Benefit of Focused Experience
Attorney B, on the other hand, focuses his practice solely on one area of law: family law. That particular focus translates to a tremendous benefit to a family law client. Because Attorney B’s years of experience have been spent in the same system, he is very knowledgeable about the processes involved, options to resolve matters outside of court (even between combative parties), the small differences between local county courts, judges’ reputations for divorce and custody determinations, etc. A family law attorney with this kind of experience, who has concentrated on just family law, is always the best option for maximizing a client’s option during every step of the legal process.
Off-hand, Attorney B can help you understand:
- The divorce and custody processes
- Possible contests—opposing motions and workable solutions—to your initial property division and/or child custody terms
- Best interest standards and how they may apply to your case
Attorney B will likely have relationships with several experts commonly called upon in family law cases, and he will know which expert is best suited for your particular case.
In short, the focused experience of Attorney B makes him better equipped to help you protect your financial assets, protect your child(ren) from any danger presented by the other parent or, perhaps, your ex-spouse, maintain a healthy relationship with your child(ren) and, to the greatest extent possible, safeguard them from the emotional trauma of divorce. And, because an experienced family law attorney is able to more efficiently work towards favorable outcomes, clients may have fewer legal fees in the long run.
Gordon N. Shayne, Attorney at Law provides the kind of focused family law experience you need. Contact Mr. Shayne to discuss your Colorado divorce/military divorce or child custody case and arrange to meet Mr. Shayne during a free consultation*.
*for those individuals interested in retaining legal counsel and who have the financial means to hire an attorney
Disclaimer: The blogs posted on ShayneLaw.com are offered for informational purposes only. These blogs are not a solicitation for legal business and should not be construed as providing any legal advice or legal opinions as to any specific fact or circumstance. Specific legal issues, concerns and conditions always require the advice of an appropriate legal professional. To obtain legal advice or opinions about Colorado family law, personally consult with a licensed Colorado attorney.