Over 30 years of experience in divorce & family law

Divorce Attorney on Long Island- How to choose the right lawyer: Part 1

Choose Right LawyerSo you have decided that you need a Long Island based attorney. There are literally hundreds at your disposal. What do you do now? Let’s consider your options. Do you know people who have been recently divorced on Long Island that may be able to refer you to an attorney? If the answer is yes, then by all means you should get as many details as you can and meet with all of the attorneys to see if any of them are a good fit for you. If you are still unsure of your selection after meeting with the referred Long Island attorneys, then you are going to have to educate yourself. Attorneys market themselves in several ways. They write books or articles, engage in peer review, self promote their successes, or their aggressiveness and ferocity. Unfortunately, none of the above is a determinative predictor of the results the attorney will obtain for you. As I noted in my prior Long Island attorney blog: “The lawyer’s reputation for past results cannot provide any firm promise of a similar outcome in any new client matter. That is why so many personal injury attorney advertisements that show high settlements and verdicts have disclaimers stating something like “ THE CASE RESULTS DESCRIBED HERE DO NOT GUARANTEE OR PREDICT A SIMILAR RESULT IN ANY FUTURE CASE WE UNDERTAKE.” The same is true in any matrimonial or family law matter. Matrimonial and family law cases have idiosyncratic differences that make them unique.

While there may be prior legal precedent, outcomes can never be predicted with any degree of certainty in many
cases. There are usually too many variables involved for an outcome to be accurately predicted.” So, the next question is what am I looking for in an attorney? Are you looking for a Long Island attorney who is: an accountant that has a strong financial background (important in cases with closely held corporations and the like); or, someone with knowledge of mental health and medicine (useful in child custody cases); or, someone who is accessible and available (which may not be the case when an associate of the chosen attorney is given responsibility for your case); or, someone who is a fierce and experienced litigator; or, is someone who is merely promising to keep fees low.

It may be that you have additional or other multiple criteria which I have not mentioned in this blog. However, once you have a self-understanding of what YOU want in a lawyer, then you can begin to carefully parse through all of the local Long Island attorney advertising, marketing and rating services in both print and online. Select the attorneys who are of interest to you and schedule your appointments. Of course, whatever you do, be sure to go in armed with the questions that you want answered concerning the attorney-client process. The attorney-client process (as I refer to it) relates to how interactions occur between you and the lawyer (by phone, email, text, Apple Facetime, or in office appointments) and how you are billed for all services and costs. While the Statement of Client Rights and Responsibilities sets forth many attorney- client process requirements, there are many others that should be discussed with your prospective attorney. You may know nothing of the issues or your rights in the divorce, but you can and should have a frank discussion with the attorney that you are interviewing about the attorney- client process. If you are comfortable with the attorney’s qualifications and the explanation of process, then you are ready to decide. Focusing on the needs of the client, the complexity of the case and the results sought have always been a hallmark of my divorce attorney on Long Island practice over the past 29 years. Feel free to contact me, H. Michael Stern, Esq., if you are interested in discussing your matrimonial, divorce or family law matter at hmsternesq@gmail.com or by phone at 516-747- 2290.


The above offers general information for educational purposes. It does not provide comprehensive or complete legal analysis. Any information that I provide should not be relied upon as legal advice or legal opinion on any particular facts or circumstances. Outcomes and results described do not mean or suggest that similar results or outcomes can or could be obtained in any other situation. Each legal matter should be considered to be factually unique and subject to varying results. The invitation to contact the author is not a solicitation to provide professional services, nor is it a statement of availability to perform legal services in any jurisdiction other than the State of New York. This is attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee future outcomes.