A Shocking First Encounter With An Attorney Today

OK, finally mustered the strength to accept the situation and talk about the separation with a lawyer, after years of deliberation and pointless discussion. I thought to myself, let me find a woman because she might be more understanding. The last thing I need right now is to open my heart and worries to some arrogant dude. I found this local lawyer who specializes in Family Law; her law firm is part of the Womens Legal Group whatever that means. Before the meeting, I drafted some notes to better take advantage of time with her:

-My scenario and expectations for the separation (I envisage a separation with a a temporary aggreement filed at first, followed by a permanent separation agreement; not an immediate divorce)
-Things I could do to prevent child abduction (my young child has a German passport and is a twin citizen here and there).
-A list of specific questions to ask the lawyer.

So I step into her conference room, we greet each other and sit down. She asks what brings me there, and I start explaining what's going on and what I want to have done. I hand her my notes. She takes a quick peek at it, and says to my surprise: "wow, this is totally over the top". My first impulse at that point was to get up and turn out the door, but instead I ask her what she found over the top specifically. And she says "the terms". "People don't usually come up with terms at this point in time". The whole meeting was not about her giving me information but dismissing of my needs and goals. All the time she seemed kind of confused, her eyes wandering about the room not making eye contact. Dismissive, patronizing. She even said she found my worries about abduction unfounded and unnecessary (htf can she claim this without knowing my husband?) and that if it happens there's not a damn thing I could do about it anyway (meanwhile, I researched online and found plenty of preventative measures that can be taken if there is a high flight risk, which there is in this case).

What gives? I was not prepared for this. I paid my good money to hear something useful but everything she told me I knew already, and she gave me a lot of misleading and incomplete information. I did not expect her attitude, I needed an advocate, and now I feel even more alone. Thoughts anyone?

Xroads2012 Xroads2012
2 Responses May 23, 2012

Get a new lawyer. Pronto. This is clearly not the right attorney for you, or your situation. Like yourself, I arrived at my first appointment with my attorney prepared. I was probably a bit over-prepared with a 3-page typed document of all the whats, whens, and wherefores, but it's what I thought I should do. Fortunately, my attorney (incidentally a woman who had been through a separation herself) was much more receptive and actually commended me for being so prepared and not just showing up clueless.<br />
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This time in your life is hard enough without having to worry about shoddy representation. I would recommend getting a referral from someone you trust - it's kind of like finding a babysitter or a doctor... personal referrals seem to be the most trustworthy. You should feel valued, validated, and important by an attorney - particularly since you're probably going to be ponying up over $200/hour!<br />
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I'm sorry this happened - if you happen to live in Northeast Ohio, I would definitely recommend the attorney I used. She was able to craft a trial separation agreement for me that was fair but thorough, and she made me feel comfortable the whole time. You deserve that too. Good luck!

You did the right thing. It's always important to have the outcome in mind. The lawyer's job is to help devise a strategy to get as close to that outcome as possible. <br />
If she can't help she should acknowledge you. It's called empathy. Then when she has your trust, she can steer you in a direction (ba<x>sed on her experience) that will get you there . That's strategy. Unfortunately, most laywers haven't come around to the realization that they're actually in a service business. I'd fire her and tell her why.