Choosing your attorney in a family law matter is one of the most difficult and most important decisions you will ever make. Choosing the right attorney can make the difference in the outcome of your case that will affect your children, your finances and property for years to come.
This may be your first experience with the court system, and you may be unsure of how to proceed. Here are some important questions to consider when hiring your attorney:
1. How much family law does this attorney practice?
Your family is the most important part of your life, so it’s wise to choose an attorney who focuses their practice in family law. Unfortunately, some attorneys will practice “a little family law on the side”, which can lead to costly errors for you. The mistaken belief that family law is simple and requires less expertise than other areas of law can place you at a disadvantage. A family-focused firm remains current on the relevant family law, and has valuable experience to get you the results you want. The Bulger Firm specializes in family law, because we understand that nothing is more important than family.
2. What are the firm’s billable hour requirements?
Attorneys typically earn their fees by documenting, or billing, the time they spend working on a client’s case. This arrangement generally works well, but some firms require their attorneys to bill a minimum number of hours per month, which can quickly result in inflated costs for services. Worse, these firms may pressure attorneys into filing unnecessary pleadings or scheduling unwarranted hearings, just so they meet this minimum. Ultimately, the client ends up paying for it. The Bulger Firm has no billable hour requirements—each case is tailored to the client’s unique needs, and you will receive an invoice every month so you can see exactly what work has been done on your behalf.
3. Which attorney will actually handle my case?
At some firms, you may meet with one attorney during your consultation, and never see them again. They may send various attorneys from their staff to different court appearances for clients, meaning your attorney-client relationship is broken into pieces with several different lawyers. In some instances, you may not meet “your” attorney until the day of your hearing.
During something as personal as a family law case, personal connections matter. The attorneys of the Bulger Firm are committed to our relationships with clients, and your case will never be passed around—you will always know who is working for you.
4. What type of training in family law does this attorney have?
Family law is a constantly-developing area of law. While this is exciting, it also requires a great deal of attention to remain current on the issues and trends and they make their way through the courts and legislature. Dustin Bulger and Cydney Bulger both received Certificates in Family Law upon graduation from law school, and frequently attend continuing legal education events to remain at the forefront of family law topics. Cydney Bulger has also taught at legal clinics for Jacksonville Area Legal Aid (JALA), and the Bulgers are members of the Florida Family Law Inns of Court, an invitation-only group of attorneys and judges whose mission is to promote ethics, professionalism and legal studies in family law.
5. Where does this attorney practice?
Your attorney’s knowledge of the practices and preferences of the judges in your jurisdiction can be nearly as important as their knowledge of the law. If your attorney isn’t invested in your local legal community, they likely don’t have experience with the judges or other attorneys in your area, which may make your case more difficult and time-consuming as they try to navigate as an outsider.
The Bulger Firm’s practice is limited to Northeast Florida—we have spent years practicing before the same judges, and often against the same attorneys. These encounters have made us familiar with the customs of our legal community, and we know what to expect in your case.
The Bulger Firm is the husband and wife attorney team of Dustin and Cydney Bulger. Our family is committed to protecting the rights and safeguarding the future of yours.