How in the world do you choose a lawyer?
Best way is by referral. Talk to the people you trust the most. Friends, family, perhaps co-workers. Ideally, someone who has been through the process and came out on the other side. A personal referral is important. Who really knows the quality of the lawyer? Former clients know. Lawyers know. Judges know. Ask around.
Websites should be used as a supplement to the personal referral. In other words, once you have the referral, go to the website and check out the law firm. Beware - anyone can pay for an inviting website. Anyone can hire a writer to use keywords to make a mediocre law firm look inviting or attractive. That's why I wrote this myself.
I passed the California Bar exam in 1984 and I started as a Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego. I had 11 jury trials as a DA and then was recruited by a major San Diego law firm. I began practicing family law in 1986, became a certified family law specialist in 1991. I have been fortunate to receive awards and recognition:
I won the 2018 Norby Award presented by the Judges of the San Diego Family Court as family law attorney of the year.
I have been named as a San Diego "Super Lawyer" since 2009.
I have been named by San Diego Magazine as a Top Lawyer since 2009.
I have been rated an AV preeminent lawyer by Martindale Hubbell since 1997.
I am rated 10 out of 10 by AVVO.
I got into Family Law it because I like helping people. Family law is real people going through real issues. Kids, houses, money. Things you can understand, relate to, put your hands on.
I have been practicing family law for 34 years. I have handled thousands of cases. Our firm does new divorces, modifications, paternity cases, prenuptial agreements. Our firm is able to handle all types of family law cases, from simple uncontested to complex large estates. What makes me most proud of our firm is our commitment to quality. We listen, we give you feedback, we don't mislead you. We fight for you - yet we play devil's advocate. We apply common sense to the law. We fight hard but we play clean. We try to resolve your case in a cost effective manner and we use court as a last resort. When we go to court, we are prepared and we are thorough.
Going through a divorce is like nothing you have ever done. There is no cookie cutter application. Every case is different. Your case might be a candidate for mediation or collaborative divorce. Your case may have to be litigated. Most cases resolve somewhere short of trial. Statistically, fewer than 5% of family law cases go to trial. These are things we talk about when you come in. If you run into an attorney who says "we take your case to court and fight for your rights", I want you to run, run far away. Going to court should be the last resort. There are two reasons why: You will pay a lot of money to your attorney because court requires formal presentation. The attorney has to perform discovery, file papers, prepare and appear. Here's the other bad thing: When court happens, you lose control of the outcome - the judge, who has many cases other than yours that day, decides the outcome, meaning you and your ex have lost control.
Obviously, there are times when we have to go to court. If the other side withholds information or documentation, is intractable and unreasonable, has perpetrated domestic violence, we will fight for you in court.
If you are going to start a divorce, start before you even come in. Gather papers from around the house - tax returns, bank statements, IRA and pension statements, investment statements. Have a sense of your income and expenses. Keep track of how often you and your spouse have parenting responsibilities. Keep a short, daily calendar of significant events. Think about a couple of years down the road. How do you see yourself? Where do you want to live? What do you want to do for work?
If you have been out of work for a few years or have never worked outside of the house, think about what you want to do. Look forward to and embrace change. You might be thinking "I am a stay at home Mom and I want to stay that way," but I want you to consider that not having a career means you will be dependent upon the person you are divorcing. That sets up an inherently bad dynamic. Better to consider a road that will lead to self-support, financial independence.
If you want to come in to talk to me, you start by calling Christina for an appointment. She sets you up for a one hour initial consultation.
Every case starts with a retainer, which is a deposit against services to be rendered. We talk about the amount when you come in and I learn a little about your case. Because every case is so different and involves its own unique set of dynamics, it is difficult to say how much any given case will cost.
- California, 1984
- Norby Award presented by the Judges of the San Diego Family Court as family law attorney of the year
- San Diego “Super Lawyer” since 2009
- San Diego Magazine as a Top Lawyer since 2009
- AV preeminent lawyer by Martindale Hubbell since 1997
- 10 out of 10 by AVVO