Is it important for a family law lawyer to have trial experience?

As the name suggests, family law focuses on issues related to families and marriages. It’s a complex and sensitive field, as the outcome of a divorce or child custody case can have life-changing consequences for those involved. This makes it a highly challenging and deeply fulfilling area of legal practice. 

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While there are no specific undergraduate degree requirements to become a family lawyer, certain majors can set you up for success. In particular, degrees in government, history, political science, psychology and English can help hone your research and writing skills. 

Family lawyers must also have excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, to effectively serve their clients. This includes being able to explain complicated topics in a way that makes sense to non-lawyers, as well as convey their client’s wishes and concerns to the other parties in a case. In addition, many family law cases are extremely emotional, and your attorney should be able to manage these situations with grace under pressure. 

When it comes to settling cases, family lawyers must have strong negotiation skills. This includes being able to assess their clients’ needs and come up with creative solutions that they can present to the other party. It’s also important for a family law attorney to have experience negotiating complex issues, such as those related to international divorces or forensic custody evaluations. 

Finally, a family law attorney should have excellent time-management skills. This is especially true for those who work in private practice, where there may be multiple clients with varying needs and deadlines. Their ability to prioritize tasks, meet deadlines and provide the best service to their clients can make or break their careers. 

Is it Important for a Family Law Lawyer to Have Trial Experience?

While over 90% of family law cases settle out of court, it’s still important for an attorney to have substantial trial experience. A lawyer who is uncomfortable in the courtroom may not be able to effectively represent their clients and could even encourage them to accept less-than-optimal settlements that are not in their best interests. An experienced litigator, on the other hand, will know when a settlement is in their client’s best interest and will not hesitate to take a case to trial if necessary. 

When you are looking for a family law attorney, consider their level of experience in the field as well as their reputation in the community and in the legal profession. You can find out more about a potential family law attorney by researching their website, checking out their previous clients and reviewing their testimonials. You can also check out the websites of law schools with family law programs to see what courses they offer and learn about their experiential learning opportunities. This information can help you narrow down your search to the most qualified candidates.