The adoption process can be difficult and complex enough to navigate without having to worry about whether or not your adoption attorney is serving you well and can be trusted to handle your, and your child’s, best interests. Here are some ways to give yourself peace of mind regarding your lawyer:
- Check reviews of your lawyer’s services. These can be word of mouth, peer reviews, and/or client reviews. Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective attorney for references.
- Ask your agency for a referral to a good adoption attorney (if they don’t have an in-house attorney who can assist you.)
- Ask friends or associates who have adopted children for their recommendations.
- Make sure your attorney is very experienced at handling adoptions, and if yours is a special situation, check to see if that lawyer has a successful history of dealing with cases similar to yours.
- Look for adoption association memberships. One specific membership to make sure your lawyer has is an affiliation with is the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys.
- Does the attorney listen to you, your needs, and your concerns? Does he or she take the time to ask relevant questions, make time for you, and return your phone calls and requests for appointments in a timely manner? If so, great! These are all indicators that you’ve hired the right lawyer. If not, live, learn, and move on.
- Look up the lawyer on your State Bar Association’s website to find out if there are or have been any disciplinary action(s) taken against him or her or if any are pending.
- Beware of large upfront fees. This is a red flag, and as such, attorneys requesting these should be avoided.
- Does your attorney treat the others involved in the process with dignity and respect?
- Does the lawyer explain things to you and take time to make sure you understand what’s happening both on the legal side and with the adoption itself? Or does he or she rush you through the steps without making things clear or treating you as an equal partner in the process?
- Check that the attorney has a menu of pre- and post-adoption services that you think you may need, either with that law office or with affiliated resources.
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