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courthouse personnel or staff. They often have a ringside seat to watch an attorney at work.

Interview several Attorneys that seem promising

Nothing can compare to a personal meeting with a prospective attorney. Most attorneys charge for a consulta- tion with no obligation to hire them. It is worth the money, considering what you will have to invest in competent legal advise.

Be sure you go to the meeting

prepared. Know what information you are seeking. During the meeting think about how the attorney responded to your questions. Did they listen to you? Did they appear knowledgeable? Did you feel confident that they would rep- resent you well? Did they ask you impor- tant and relevant questions? Ask yourself whether you feel better and know more than you did before the meeting.

Take the time to address the practical nature of the process, not only the emotional

component of the process Be sure that you ask questions about the various procedures available in your area to resolve the legal issues in your case. Make sure you fully understand the fee structure and costs which you will be charged. No attorney can predict with certainty the overall costs from start to finish as there are many factors out of

your attorney’s control. Most impor- tantly, your spouse and his attorney. Ask whether or not it appears any experts are going to be needed for your case. And trust your instincts. Consider how the office is presented and how the staff treat you. Were you comfortable?

Consider the costs before you retain

Think about what resources you have to hire an attorney. You need to understand if you have funds or sufficient credit to pay. Do you have assets that can be liqui- dated or someone you can lend you the money or advance funds you may be en- titled to at a later date? And think about your goal? What are you trying to accom- plish? Is the cost worth the benefit? It is not helpful to engage an attorney that will quickly deplete your funds on deposit and then need to withdraw from represent- ing you before the matter is completed. Understand what you are fighting for and what it is worth to you to have sound legal representation while you fight.

Do not hire more than you need Think about what your legal needs are and whether they are complicated or relatively simple. You do not need the most highly trained attorney in town, to complete a simple legal agreement, which does not incorporate any com- plex legal issues. OCTOBER 2012 35

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