Second Opinion On Your Current Matter
Second opinions are not uncommon in the medical profession, and in fact, are often advisable. The same is true in the legal profession. When meeting with prospective new clients, I invariably ask if they have met with any other attorneys about their case. If the answer is “no”, I tell them they would be well-advised to do so, and advise them to do just that.
Why is a second opinion important?
Family law is fact-specific, and it’s important to work with someone familiar with the law as it applies to the facts of every individual case. Perhaps even more important are the levels of trust and feelings of simpatico between attorney and client. Family issues and disputes are by nature emotional, and resolving them requires a special skill set that not everyone possesses, no matter how learned they are in the “black letter” of the law. Many of my colleagues have commented, “Oh! I could never do family law because it’s so emotional.” I assure them that I could never do tax law or, as one colleague said, try to care about which giant corporation gets the money.
When is a second opinion appropriate?
Second opinions in family law can be appropriate at every stage of the proceedings, from what I call the “What If” consultation, where someone is contemplating a divorce or being threatened with one, to determining if it’s worth taking an appeal from an adverse Court decision, and everything in between and even after. For example, the children who were toddlers when their parents got divorced are now applying to college. Even if their settlement agreement addresses this, it often is necessary for one or more of their parents to consult with counsel about the specifics, such as what schools are acceptable, and who contributes what to their expenses. Talking to more than one family lawyer can result in getting the benefit of different points of view about how these issues can be resolved.
The “in between” cases usually come up when someone is dissatisfied for whatever reason with their current counsel, ranging from their having gotten a bad result in Court to a feeling that current counsel is too busy or unsympathetic to be an effective advocate. It can be a reality check, to see if the case is progressing as it should. Sometimes the conclusion is that it is, and that patience is required to see it through. Other times the conclusion is that it absolutely is not progressing as it should. At the end of one second opinion consultation, my advice was to get new counsel on the case, even if it’s not me.
We will gladly undertake a second opinion analysis of your case, regardless of where it is in the process.