December 11, 2010

Top 5 Things to Look For In an Oregon Divorce Lawyer If You Live Out Of State

We’ve seen an increase in the number of clients needing divorce help who are working out of Oregon or out of country.  If your spouse has lived in Oregon for 6 months, Oregon has jurisdiction over your marital status, even if you don’t live here.  Having your spouse file for divorce in Oregon while you working abroad is stressful. Finding an Oregon divorce lawyer who can help if you work in Hong Kong or the United Arab Emirates is difficult. You aren’t going to have the same opportunity to meet face to face  as if you lived locally. How do you find the right lawyer to help with your out of state case? What should you look for in a lawyer or law firm if you don’t live locally but need an Oregon divorce attorney? The following is our top 5 list of things to look for:

    1. Flexibility and Availability: If you are in a time zone 17 hours from Pacific Standard Time, you need a lawyer who’s available on your schedule and can handle international communication. Is your lawyer willing to “meet” with you after or before normal US business hours to accommodate your schedule? When we represent international clients, we start a google clock that shows the local time with the client’s name so we know where our clients are in their workday in their local time.
    1. Technological Competence: How is your lawyer going to communicate with you? Many law offices are still dinosaurs in the digital world and have not adopted scanning and electronic communication. To speed communication, we scan all incoming documents and correspondence, and communication by email is preferred.  How are you going to communicate if you need to talk and the phone isn’t enough? To accommodate clients, we are set up to Skype and video conference.  How are you going to exchange large packages of documents (like discovery) that may not fit as a attachment to an email? We maintain a user friendly FTP account to send and receive large files to clients.  Being tech savvy matters.
    1. Professionalism: Finding a professional lawyer is critical, especially if you don’t have the opportunity to establish rapport by a face to face meeting at the beginning of the case.  Has the lawyer or firm embraced a statement of professionalism? (We have).  Are there reviews online about the lawyer so you know what it is like to work with them? Our lawyers use tools like  AVVO (Dan Margolin, Sean Stephens), LinkedIn (Dan Margolin, Sean Stephens), and Google + to communicate to clients what it is like to work with us when they can’t meet us face to face.
    1. Responsiveness: Deadlines come and go quickly, especially across timezones. Negotiations are time sensitive. If you are out of state, you need to know that your call will be taken and that your email will be responded to. Ask the lawyer about how responsive they are.
  1. Experience With Expat Cases: Does the lawyer of firm have experience in representing out of state clients, or are you the first “experiment” for them? Is the staff accustom to working with different time zones and cultures? With our technology,  have structured our office to make the client’s location irrelevant in providing exceptional legal services. Ask your lawyer if they have handled many Oregon divorce  cases for expats and out of state clients.

The lawyers at Stephens & Margolin LLP have extensive experience in representing clients who live out of State and abroad in divorce and family law matters.