Some very good points from MOGILEVSKY Law Firm, P.A. in its How To Choose Your Divorce Lawyer:
# Do you practice family law exclusively? If not, what percentage of your practice is family law?
# How long have you been practicing?
# What is your retainer (the initial fee paid — or, sometimes, the actual contract you sign — to officially hire a lawyer)? Is this fee refundable? What is your hourly fee?
# What is your billing technique? You should know what you’re paying for, how often you will be billed, and at what rates.
# Approximately how much will my divorce cost? The lawyer will only be able to provide an estimate based on the information you provide — and your realistic estimation of how amicable you and you spouse are. If you think your case is extremely simple, but your spouse’s lawyer buries your attorney in paperwork, you can expect your costs to increase.
# What do you think the outcome will be? Remember, you’re looking for truthfulness here — not to be told a happy story. A lawyer who tells you things you don’t really want to hear is more of an asset than a lawyer who guarantees you anything you want.
# If your spouse has retained an attorney, ask your prospective lawyer whether he or she knows this attorney. If so, ask: “Have you worked with him or her before? Do you think the attorney will work to settle the case? And is there anything that would prevent you from working against this attorney?”
# What percentage of your cases go to trial? You actually want to choose a lawyer with a low percentage here — a good negotiator who can settle your case without a long, expensive court battle.
# Are you willing and able to go to court if this case can’t be settled any other way?
# How long will this process take? Again, the answer will be an approximation.
# What are my rights and obligations during this process?
# At a full-service firm, ask who will be handling the case: the lawyer you’re interviewing, an associate, or a combination of senior and junior lawyers and paralegals?
# Should I consider mediation? Ask whether your case — at least in the initial stages — might be a good one for mediation.
Look, folks, you can go through the Yellow Pages but you got to know what you are looking for. You can even compare prices. But know what you need to be looking for.
Regardless of the attorney fees, you need to know the kind of services you will need. They you will need to find the attorney's experience with providing the services you need.
Then ask about fees. Do not just ask what is the attorney's hourly rate - that does not answer your real question. And what is that real question? You want to know what the case will cost you. You need to ask that exact question: what will the case cost.