The Local Family Law Attorney - Is There an Advantage to Hiring One?
by B. Robert Farzad, Farzad & Mazarel, ALC
Orange County Divorce and Family Law Attorneys
Ever heard the adage, "a good lawyer knows the law but a great one knows the judge"?
It's a misleading statement of course, but is there some truth to it? Does a great lawyer know the judge? The short answer is "kind of." The expression should be, "good lawyers know their judges' styles."
I am an Orange County divorce lawyer, and President of Farzad & Mazarel, ALC. The far majority of my family law cases are in Orange County, California. I don't venture into the Palm Springs area.
First, it's pretty darn far and I don't want my clients paying me to drive that kind of distance. Second, even though family law is all I do, I don't want to learn the local procedures, and an Indio family law judge's style - in front of whom I have never appeared - or even the idiosyncrasies of the family law clerk's office in Palm Springs or Indio, or the surrounding courts.
If I have a case in Riverside County, I send it to Thurman. He is the family law lawyer in the Coachella Valley I recommend, and I believe the prospective client who called me for a divorce or family law case would be better served by this "local" family law lawyer.
Let's take a look at why I say this.
Family Law Court's Local Rules
Each county has its own local rules. These rules are published and available to the public. While local rules are not permitted to conflict with state statutes and codes, they are still a significant part of a case's handling and litigation. These local rules can affect how hearings, settlement conference and even trials are handled. When you have a local divorce lawyer who handles cases in that venue on a regular basis, he or she should be familiar with the local rules. When you bring in someone who has rarely appeared in that court, there may be a learning curve.
A Family Law Judge's Style and Preferences
Family law judges are human beings. They have their likes and dislikes. Many of them had a private law practice before they became a judge. The younger ones may still be feeling their way. The older ones may be very set in their ways. Some family law judges have strong opinions on certain aspects of family law. For example, in any venue, some family law judges may more freely award attorney fees against a spouse while others may be more hesitant.
There are numerous examples I could give you about how certain judges in Orange County handle matters differently than others. We are not talking about night and day here, but subtleties that can make a difference to how you prepare for a case and how you present your case.
Availability to Appear in Emergencies
The Orange County family law courthouse is minutes from my law office. If I was given ex parte (emergency) notice on a case in Indio, I would be seriously inconvenienced to drop everything and appear the following day at 8:30 a.m. The advantage of having a local lawyer is their availability, if there is ever an emergency on the case. Thurman is in family court in Indio on a regular basis. I am in Orange County family court on a regular basis. That type of regularity has a distinct advantage to your case. You know your family law lawyer is there at a moment's notice, if you need him.
Knowing the Local Experts
Family law cases often involve expert witnesses. These can be privately retained or court appointed. They include forensic psychologists, forensic CPAs, therapists, minor's counsel and others. Think there is an advantage to being familiar with these local experts? You bet. Like judges they have their peculiar preferences and styles. Experience with the local experts can help you determine who to pick and not to pick and how to handle a case with them once they are on board.
Use Your Common Sense When Choosing Divorce Counsel
There is nothing wrong with hiring an out of town attorney, if you feel you should. Large venues like Los Angeles often get lawyers from all over the place. That is common and accepted. But if you have a chance to hire a great local attorney who is familiar with the local rules, the judges' styles and other issues particular to that county and courthouse, you may find yourself better represented and better served. And, you will save money!
Orange County Divorce and Family Law Attorney B. Robert Farzad
Exclusively Divorce and Family Law
1851 East 1st Street, #1150, Santa Ana, California 92705
(714) 937-1193 or toll free at (877) 857-6500