When choosing a divorce lawyer, Orange County residents may use a number of factors to decide which professional will best represent their cases.
- Experience is incredibly important. The number of years that an attorney has been practicing indicates his or her familiarity with the challenges, requirements, and situations that divorce proceedings can present.
- Expertise is also necessary in a divorce lawyer. Orange County residents should choose a legal representative skilled in family law and divorce issues specifically. Having a lawyer who understands California law in particular is also key; each state has its own particular way of handling the dissolution of marriage.
- Reputation is often a driving factor for clients. They may choose a large law firm based on its notoriety and its work in multiple legal practices.
Each of these elements is important in deciding on a divorce attorney. Orange County clients are sometimes surprised, however, to learn that the professional they thought would be representing them is not really the person involved in the day-to-day work of their cases.
Here is a common experience. A partner or senior partner in a law firm—someone who fits all of the criteria above—may meet with the client initially. He or she answers questions and helps lay out a strategy for the divorce proceedings. Ultimately, his or her goal is to establish a relationship with the client so that the client chooses to work with the firm.
Following this courtship, the senior attorney may choose a junior member of his or her team to spearhead the case. The true legal work of filing, responding to client questions and concerns, meeting with the opposing attorney, reaching a settlement, or going to trial is handled by this attorney.
There are a few valid reasons for the law firm to make this switch. For example, a senior lawyer may bill at a much higher rate than his junior counterpart. By having the other attorney handle the majority of the work, the firm can save clients money in billable hours.
However, it can lead to a number of problems. The client may be expecting the expertise and experience of a senior lawyer. Even if the level of legal quality is the same, the client may feel betrayed, especially if he or she made the decision to hire a law firm based on the relationship developed in that initial meeting.
As a divorce lawyer, Orange County’s W. Douglas McKeague values the one-on-one partnerships he develops with clients. From the initial meeting to the final settlement, Douglas is your representative. He is responsible for all levels of activities in your case and takes part in all client interactions. That way, he has a complete understanding of your needs, wants, and legal situation, and he is able to integrate new challenges and information with the groundwork that has already been laid.