Defining the Role of Your Lawyer

There are many different reasons to hire an attorney for your family law case in Texas. When some people think about family law cases, the divorce case immediately comes to mind. However, there are many different kinds of family law cases. As a result, the case you are involved in may require different levels of representation and even different types of family law attorneys. Hiring the right attorney for you in your case is not as simple as going on the Internet and hiring the first lawyer you find. It also doesn’t mean hiring an attorney who is located closest to your home. Rather, I need to make an informed decision before moving forward with the hiring process.

Collecting information should be the first place that you start when it comes to hiring a lawyer. Although you are probably familiar with attorneys and may even be familiar with family law cases, you are likely not incredible with the specific roles that a family law attorney can play in your case. Believe me, the main purpose of hiring an attorney for your family law case is not to have the attorney available to yell at your opposing party or opposing attorney in court. Likewise, the attorney should not solely focus on administering your case from behind a desk without taking an active and participatory role.

The sweet spot for you and your family is finding an attorney who was equally comfortable in both being active in promoting your interests and protecting your rights and also in negotiating a settlement that is most favorable to you and your family. If it seems like I am talking out of both sides of my mouth in this regard, I suppose that, in a way, I am. It is difficult for a family law attorney to strike a balance between engaging in good faith dialogue and negotiation and being aggressive on the litigation side of things if they need to be. That is why it is so crucial for you to hire an attorney who suits your needs specifically.

How do you even begin looking for the Wright family law attorney? What are some of the most important qualities you should review when you speak with a lawyer? That is where I would like to begin today’s blog post. Even if you have settled upon hiring a lawyer for your case, that doesn’t mean that you can merely perform a quick Google search on attorneys and make your decision from there. Rather, we need to be intentional about hiring the lawyer. You will find that intentionality it’s a key part of having a successful family law case and presenting yourself as a family law participant.

The heart of a teacher

When it comes to hiring an attorney, I have heard all sorts of qualities mentioned as important throughout my time as a lawyer. I’ve heard that it is essential for you to be a bulldog in the courtroom you want to be a successful attorney. I guess that means you need to be aggressive in court and not back down from a fight. Picture prototypical junkyard dog in a movie or television show. That dog latches onto your pant leg and does not let go of anything. Therefore, the best attorneys must be ones who are difficult to deal with and are not pleasant to interact with, right?

While there is some truth to the idea that your attorney needs to be comfortable in the courtroom, hiring an attorney based solely on their courtroom demeanor or personality would be a mistake. By the same token, I would also tell you that it would be a huge mistake I consider courtroom experience when you are hiring a lawyer. While it is true that the vast majority of family law cases these days settle outside of court, it won’t be brilliant to hire a lawyer who is never served a client inside the courtroom before. The only way to learn about your attorney’s experience or lack thereof in court would be to ask them in a consultation.

What is a consultation? It’s a meeting with an attorney regarding the possibility of forming an attorney-client relationship. There are no commitments to represent you that come out of consultation unless you move forward and sign a contract with the attorney. A consultation is usually just a “get to know you” type of deal where you speak with an attorney casually about the basics of your case, ask questions and receive answers. Although the process is casual, it is not as easy to put your feet up and take it easy in one of these meetings.

Rather, I would spend the time determining whether the attorney that you are meeting with has the heart of a teacher. Teachers and attorneys are not normally two occupations that we think have a lot in common. However, being a teacher does not only apply to those who go into classrooms every day with our kids. Rather, I think that it is possible and indeed is desirable for people in other occupations to be able to teach well. This is true of attorneys, as well.

An attorney’s role in your case is not to tell you what to do. Your attorney is not in charge of your case. An attorney is there to teach you about how the law, your circumstances, and other factors involved in your case all interact and can impact your life. That is what an attorney does in an ideal world. You may have been under the impression that the attorney is there to dictate what you should do or should not do. However, this is not the truth. I think that it is the antithesis of what an attorney should be doing.

You want your attorney to be able to and willing to explain the issues of your case to you in a way that makes sense and in a way that allows you to make decisions for yourself. At the end of the day, you are the person who has to live with the decisions that you make and the outcomes of your case. Your attorney, however well-meaning, can go home to their family at the end of their workday. Bear this in mind as you proceed through your case. You want to be able to rely upon the advice and perspective of your attorney. Why else hire a lawyer if you can’t trust their advice? With that said, to trust that person’s advice, you need to feel comfortable with them and their perspective.

In my opinion, the best and most efficient way to gain a client’s trust is to show that you are willing to take the time to sit down with them and explain the circumstances and the law understandably. From an attorney’s perspective, it is easier to dictate to the client what they should do. It is far more difficult, time-consuming, and strenuous to take the time necessary to explain to a client all their options. While it is certainly more difficult to go the extra mile for you as a client, the attorney you hire should be willing to do so. You deserve as much as a client, and your attorney is the person who should be responsible for providing this level of care for you.

Once your attorney takes the steps necessary to explain your options and walk you through the possible outcomes based on your decisions, then you will be in a much better position to not only positively impact the outcome of your case but also to work on improving the quality of life for yourself and your children. None of that would have been possible had your attorney not taken the time to teach you the necessary elements of your case, answer questions and then support you in the decisions that you made. While it is never possible to anticipate every single possible outcome of your decisions, your attorney can minimize the chances for bad outcomes by taking the time to teach rather than to dictate.

Your lawyer should be an advocate.

Another name for a lawyer is an advocate. That is a person who sticks up for you and your cause despite whatever obstacles or challenges are in front of you. You may have the most confidence in yourself and want to do the best you can for your family. However, that is a far cry from managing a complex family law case with only confidence. We just discussed how important it is for you to learn about the law in Texas and how they interact with the circumstances of your case. On top of that, your attorney needs to be able to stand firm and represents you diligently in front of others. This is true both in a courtroom and in settlement negotiations with opposing counsel.

The difficult part of this is that it is tricky to discern this quality among others when you are meeting with an attorney in a consultation. You can ask the attorney if they are willing to stand up for you and your cause, and I’m willing to bet that they would likely say that they were willing to do so. However, taking them at their word and trusting that they will do so is difficult. Often attorneys will have the ability for you to speak with former clients or even read reviews of attorneys. It would help if you were diligent in determining whether or not your attorney will act as a suitable advocate for you.

This is especially true if you as a client have a case that is not the prettiest to look at, so to speak. Family law participants are not always diligent parents or perfect spouses. All of us have our warts, and all of us have blemishes on our names and reputations. Some of us do more so than others. In that case, you and your attorney have to be a team and lock arms against the opposing party and their attorney if you have an attorney who is willing to take your money but is not willing to take arm and arm with you and represents you to the fullest, then you are doing yourself a disservice.

This is why it is important, in my opinion, to be as intuitive as you can in these consultations to determine whether or not your attorney will go to great lengths to support you in your case. Different clients need different levels of support and advocacy in certain areas. You can talk with your attorney about where you need the most support and what they are willing to do to support you. If you listen to your attorney and can determine how confident you are in their ability to stand up for you, then you will have a great deal of Peace of Mind heading into a case. The last thing you want is to hire an attorney, pay them money, and not believe fully that they will represent you or stick up for you when times get tough.

Your attorney needs the experience to represent you in a family law case.

The last thing that I would mention in terms of the role you’re attorney needs to play in your family law case is that none of the above pieces of advice that I have provided you with will matter too much unless your attorney has experience in representing clients in family law cases. The thing about finding an attorney for a family law case is that many attorneys out there will tell you that they are fit to take on the case and are willing to do so. The reality is that family law attorneys possess a degree of knowledge and experience that general practice attorneys do not know when it comes to the in’s and out of a family law case. Oftentimes, that degree of experience is what makes a difference for you and your family.

First of all, the more you do something, the more you see patterns and gain the level of experience and learn how to handle certain matters. For example, I’m sure in your line of work, you have been able to encounter certain events time and again, and you have learned in developed methods to be able to deal with those challenges, whatever they may be. The same can be said of a family law case. Family law attorneys deal with the challenges of these types of cases so frequently that there isn’t much that we haven’t seen before in terms of our collective experience. The more experienced your attorney’s offices, the better off you will be. Consider that your attorney may be able to rely upon the experience of their coworkers and staff as a means to benefit you in your case.

When meeting with an attorney for the first time, you should directly ask them about their experience in representing clients in your position. At that point, you should take a moment and listen to determine their actual level of experience. If the attorney does not have experience handling a family law case, I would not recommend allowing yourself to be the party they gain experience with. Rather, you should seek out an experienced attorney to assist you with your case.

It would be best if you did not assume that you will get a second chance in your case. Rather, it is likely that the best opportunity you will have to accomplish your goals and a family law case will be in your case, but you’re handling it right now. As a result, you need to get the case right the first time and seek to accomplish all of your goals in the first opportunity you have. It is possible and even likely that you will not get a second chance. Hiring an attorney to represent you; there’s minimal or no experience in family law is a good way for you to accomplish even reasonable goals that you have set for yourself in a Texas family law case.

Questions about the material contained in today’s blog post? Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan

If you have any questions about the material contained in today’s blog post, please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan. Our licensed family law attorneys offer free of charge consultations six days a week in person, over the phone, and via video. These consultations are a great way for you to learn more about the world of Texas family law and how our experienced attorneys can help guide you through but changing circumstances your family may encounter in a child custody or divorce case. I appreciate your interest in our law practice. We hope you will join us again tomorrow as we continue to discuss relevant important matters related to the world of Texas family law.


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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it’s important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, KingwoodTomballThe WoodlandsHouston, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris CountyMontgomery CountyLiberty County, Chambers CountyGalveston CountyBrazoria CountyFort Bend County, and Waller County.

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