The first difficult issue in the process is getting the names of qualified lawyers from which to pick from. The following is a suggestion of sources to find an attorney for you.
- From other professionals. Lawyers, accountants, psychotherapists, members of the clergy and other professionals meet and work with divorce lawyers in the course of their work and are often a good source of referrals. Ask them for the names of family law specialists with good credentials and reputations and whose qualifications are most appropriate to your case. Lawyers, in particular, are aware of the reputations of other lawyers, even those outside their specialty, so a lawyer you already know and trust can be an exceptionally good referral source. If you need a divorce lawyer outside your geographical area, divorce lawyers in your area often know who the best people are in other regions.
- From organizations. Your state bar may have a process for identifying lawers whose practice emphasises family law, and may give you names and referrals. While having an emphasis is no absolute assurance of quality, it usually requires a certain proven level of experience, study, and interest in the field. Washington does not certified specialists in any area of the law. The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers is an organization with a rigorous screening procedure which admits only qualified specialists. The American Bar Association and most local bar associations have family law sections. Although any lawyer can join these sections with no screening or testing, lawyers who belong may have a higher level of interest and involvement in the field of family law than those who don't.
- Referrals from other persons. You may have friends or relatives who have gone through a divorce. They are a good source of information about lawyers, with two qualifications. Every client and every case is different, so it is difficult to evaluate the performance of a lawyer in someone else's case. Also, the lawyer-client relationship is highly personal. So while the impressions of a former client about a lawyer are useful, you should meet the lawyer and make your own judgment.