There is nothing wrong with taking suggestions from friends and family when hiring a high net worth divorce attorney as long as they’re good suggestions. The questions should remain the same even though a friend or family member suggests an attorney. You have to ask that attorney: Do you specialize in divorce law and family law? What is your caseload like? Do you have a dedicated paralegal? What is their caseload like? In other words, are they going to have the time to properly prepare the case? How many cases have they done that they consider to be high net worth or high-income cases?
Now, attorneys are restrained based on ethical rules. They cannot discuss specific cases (unless they have been publicly reported cases) of high net worth or high-income cases due to confidentiality. That said, we can certainly discuss with any particular client or potential client the number of cases we’ve done, the types of assets that were involved, the types of incomes that were involved, and the type of success one had on those types of cases. Therefore, it’s merely that you get the referral from a family or friend in terms of the attorney, but you want to make sure the referred attorney knows what they’re doing when it comes to your particular case.
Should I Look At Testimonials & Online Reviews When Researching an Attorney?
You should look at testimonials and online reviews when researching an attorney. That’s a factor you should consider – but it’s only one factor amongst many different factors that you should consider. In other words, if the attorney you’re looking at doesn’t even have a website, you should ask: Why is that? Perhaps the attorney gets a lot of referrals from word of mouth – but on the other hand, in the 21st century, I’d be concerned about any attorney who doesn’t have a website. At the same time, look at websites like AVVO or Google, both of which are two of the top sites in terms of attorney reviews. If the attorney you’re looking at doesn’t have any online reviews or only very few online reviews, those are questions to ask the attorney. Therefore, how can you as a potential client independently verify whether their clients have actually liked them or not – and are satisfied with their services?
On the other hand, you should be wary of attorneys who seemingly have hundreds of positive reviews. I know of a few law firms in the Bronx or Westchester area which have 200, 300, 400 mostly positive reviews on their Google Review Page. Whereas, almost all of the other attorneys in this field may have 10, 20, 30, or 40 reviews in total. So, as a potential client, you should be concerned about that in terms of whether they are paying a service to do their reviews for them. Unfortunately, in this world, some people are dishonest, and the dishonesty can float into the area of attorneys. I cannot name names, but I know some attorneys out there hire companies to do fake positive reviews for them.
They will simply farm out and pay a high school student or college student to go on Google to give a particular attorney a positive review with a script on what to say. The attorney will take out a subscription and pay around $50 to $100 a month to get a few new positive reviews which seem like it’s coming from actual clients – except that it’s not. They’re coming from this sham company who’s just paying some college students to write fake positive reviews. On Google’s end, it’s almost impossible to police. They don’t circle back to the attorney and verify whether these are actual positive reviews. It then becomes a matter of the potential client doing independent research and asking that particular attorney the right questions.
If all other attorneys have 10-50 online reviews, but the attorney one is visiting has 200-300+ reviews, don’t hesitate to ask: Why is it that you have 10 times the reviews of all other attorneys in this field? Are you paying a service to do these reviews for you? Also, you can go through a random sample of their reviews and ask about a case s/he had with that firm. You can say, this person gave you a review, tell me about his/her case? Or, I see “Jane Doe” gave you a positive review a couple months ago & you just recently finished her case. Tell me a little bit about her case?
If the attorney gives you a blank look, then you know they’re lying to you, and you should turn around and walk quickly out of their office.
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