Finding and Vetting Prospective Law Firms for Your Abuse or Neglect Case

It’s not hard to find attorney referrals – the web alone can deliver more prospects than you could possible review, even if you spent weeks. The question is: how do you find qualified prospects who share your values?

Your budget and financial circumstances may preclude you from hiring a private attorney. In that case, the New Jersey Public Defender system can refer you to attorneys through its Office of Parental Representation (OPR). However, just remember that the quality of your legal representation can profoundly affect not only the dynamics between you and your children, but also your future job and career prospects. Avoid being “penny wise, pound foolish.” Think about this process as an investment in your future, in your children and in your mental health. Hiring the cheapest lawyer today will likely cost you two or three-fold tomorrow to have the right attorney undo the damage done by the budget lawyer you first retained.

Using your purpose and principles to guide you, winnow down your list of prospects to two to three firms, maximum. Then set up consultations with your top choices. Meet up in person; a chat over the phone will not give you good insight into the professional’s skill, knowledge or connection to your case or cause. Prepare for the consultation by writing down a list of questions. Be as comprehensive as possible, and take good notes during the meetings. The consultations, by the way, should be protected by attorney-client privilege.

Your ideal choice should have a wealth of resources available to you prior to your consultation. Read articles they have published. Check out videos they may have recorded on the topic of concern to your situation. Once you find candidates with whom to consult, read their bios. Google their names and see what comes up about them, beyond their website content.

Here are some questions you might want to ask:

  • How many years have you been defending parents against wrongful accusations of child abuse and neglect?
  • What is the typical process that you use to help people like me?
  • Will I be working with you or another attorney directly? Who will my “point people” be?
  • Have you trained the attorneys on your staff to deliver peak performance comparable to your own?
  • What are your rates?
  • What qualifications or relevant experience do you bring to the table?
  • What inspired you to go into this area of law?
  • What mistakes do you fear that clients like me might make?
  • If I decide to go forward with your firm, what would the next steps be?

Collect your notes from your various consultations and review them. Consider recruiting a close friend or trusted advisor to sort through your options. Pay attention not just to the “facts on the ground” but also to your intuition. The subconscious has a fantastic ability to pick up critical clues about subtle red flags that we may consciously miss.

For instance, the attorney may have great credentials but may lack the warmth or compassion that you feel like you need during your crisis. Pay attention to those feelings.

For skillful, experienced assistance battling back against untrue allegations of child abuse or neglect, call the Williams Law Group, LLC immediately at (908) 810-1083.

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