So out of the blue a man comes to your house and gives you a document with the word “summons” on and you need to find a lawyer urgently.

You start asking around and your aunt says the lawyer who handled her divorce was very good because he drove a very expensive car and your colleagues tell you to use the company lawyer because he talks tough.

But you feel lost. How do you choose a lawyer?Family Lawyer

The Do’s and Dont’s:

Don’t choose with your emotions: “I will take her to the cleaners”. “I will make them pay and crush them!”.

For example: when a client is angry and asks me if I am a Rottweiler attorney, I tell him: I can be a Rottweiler with the best of them, but it only means more legal fees for you and a litigation war that will slash and burn everything with it.

Think about this carefully. If you choose with your emotions, you will make a big mistake.

Do ask the right questions: do you have experience in this area of law? What is your approach to litigation – do you focus on settlement or on winning? Most cases settle sooner or later.

Did you pick an attorney who prefers to settle later when his bond is paid off? If winning is everything to the attorney, then you are paying for an ego, not for attention to you and your case.

Don’t be nervous to interview more than one attorney until you find one that you are comfortable with and you feel you can trust.

Do ask what their hourly rate is and check if you can afford it. If they won’t tell you straight up – warning signs.

At the end of the day you and your attorney are a team, working together on your case. Picking the right one is very important.

Elmarie Neilson

Elmarie Neilson

Elmarie Neilson has decades of experience as an Attorney, and specialises in Family Law (including adoptions) and is an Administrator of Deceased Estates. She is also a qualified mediator, facilitator and collaborative practitioner. Elmarie has the same right of appearance in the High Court as an advocate.
Phone: +27 021 557 8552/9
Fax: 086 646 7844