Law Office of Janet Langjahr
Boynton Beach Divorce Lawyer serving
Fort Lauderdale Broward and West Palm Beach County
and, with our network, all of Florida
Attorney licensed in FL, NY, NJ

Boynton Beach, Florida divorce and child custody attorney Janet Langjahr helps you win back control of your lives in family and domestic violence court

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How to Select Your Divorce and Family Lawyer
So You Get It Right the First Time and Save Yourself a Lot of Grief

2004, 2005 by Janet Langjahr, Attorney-at-Law

"Why do those clients call you so often - and not their lawyer in their other state?" an assistant asked me recently.

It wasn't until then that I realized that she asked a very good question. I decided to ask the next such callers.

"I can never get him on the phone...When I do, he never has time to talk more than a minute...He makes me feel like I'm bothering him...When I ask a question, he just says not to worry and to leave everything to him...He never returns my calls...He doesn't even remember my son's name...I think he sends me letters so he doesn't have to get on the phone with me...He doesn't seem to care... He talks to me like I'm an idiot...I'm not comfortable discussing private matters with him...He's not even trying to get the visitation schedule I think is best for my daughter..."
Their answers shocked me - at first.

These clients were speaking of lawyers with excellent credentials, outstanding reputations and hefty hourly rates.

They are surely competent. After all, most lawyers really are.

But these unfortunate victims of the system felt lost and abandoned by their advocates and counselors during one of the most difficult experiences of their lives.

That's why they called me - even though I was powerless to do anything for them in their other state.

When I thought about it a little bit, I realized I shouldn't have been shocked by these clients' answers or behavior at all.

Their problem wasn't peculiar to clients dividing their time between two states or transitioning to a new state.

It's really the exact same problem reported by more than half of purely local clients who call my office looking for a new lawyer to take over their cases already in progress!

How is it that these clients have lawyers but feel abandoned?

  1. They probably didn't think to ask their prospective lawyers about their communications habits before they hired them.

  2. And they probably didn't give a thought to whether they would be comfortable discussing very personal matters with these prospective lawyers.

But, unfortunately, they should have done both.

Really, it's not unreasonable to want to get the ear of a lawyer you're paying to handle any type of matter for you.

But it's probably essential in divorce and child custody legal matters. Why?

  • for many divorce and child custody law clients, this is their first encounter with the strange universe that is the court system and they are often consumed by questions

  • their case is about a major upheaval in their personal lives

  • they may live on tenterhooks from the beginning of the case until the end

  • these battles can be bitter and hostile

  • emotions of all kinds can run high

  • behavior by parties (and, sadly, sometimes lawyers) can stoop low

  • case events can occur on a daily basis

  • clients are often vulnerable and stressed out

  • they may need some emotional support and

  • they may have to confide intimate, personal information to their lawyers

Of course, every client is unique, and their needs and expectations of their attorneys may be different.

But, the single most common and most pressing complaint clients level against their lawyers is not about their lawyers' legal skills.

It's about poor communications, such as failure to return telephone calls and to keep clients informed about the progress of their cases.

If access to and communication with your lawyer are important to you, make sure you take these matters up with your prospective lawyer before you hire him or her.

When all is said and done, these may be the biggest and most important differences among the overwhelming majority of lawyers.

Like it or not, your case may continue for months or, in some cases, years.

Take it from these unfortunate souls. You really don't want to get hip deep into your case, only to discover that you feel like you are in it all alone.

The Law Office of Janet Langjahr PA
Divorce Law · Child Custody Law · Domestic Violence Law
3330 S. Federal Highway, Suite 208
1 Mile South of Woolbright Road at Bamboo Lane on the northbound side of US 1
Boynton Beach, FL 33435
Voice (561) 424-9001
Fax (561) 892-8442
Licensed in Florida, New Jersey and New York (since 1988)
Serving West Palm Beach County and Fort Lauderdale Broward County, Florida
and, with our network, all of Florida

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