The Importance of Interviewing Divorce Attorneys, An Interview with Ariella Deutsch
Ariella Deutsch is a divorce attorney in New York City, practicing at Goldweber Epstein LLP. Ariella offers a wide range of legal services in family law from litigation to representing clients as a consulting/review attorney. Ariella is known is known for helping her clients focus on their end goals and educating them throughout their divorce process, so they can make well-informed decisions every step of the way.
Ariella Deutsch was interviewed by Divorceify Co-founder, Sonia Queralt.
Sonia Queralt: Tell me about your role as an attorney in the divorce process as a professional.
Ariella Deutsch: I’m a divorce attorney in New York City. My role is to educate and guide my clients through the legal process of divorce. I make sure that my clients have all of the information that they need to make the best choices at every step of their case and end up with a result where they feel that they got a fair outcome.
Queralt: One of the most important relationships that a client is going have when going through a divorce is that with their attorney. How can clients select the right attorney for them?
Deutsch: The first meeting with the attorney is usually called the consultation, but really it should be called an interview because it’s the client’s opportunity to figure out if this is a person that they want guiding their path through the divorce. Divorce is a process, so when clients are looking for an attorney to help them through their divorce process they really should be thinking about it more in the way they think about hiring any person with whom they are going to have an ongoing and important relationship such as a primary care doctor or a pediatrician for their children. The divorce attorney is going be a part of your life. Attorneys are deeply involved in their client’s lives and so the attorney-client relationship is much more of a partnership.
Queralt: What are some factors or traits that clients should be looking for in attorneys when determining whether that attorney is the right fit for them?
Deutsch: When I read profiles of other divorce attorneys, I recognize that we all sound the same on paper – we all just sound like we’re using the same bad copywriter. So, one of the roles of the prospective client in the initial interview is to ask questions that try to flush out what about this attorney’s profile is real and what’s just marketing. Clients should be asking the types of questions that help them get a better read on who they’re really talking to.
Queralt: Yes, absolutely. What are some of those questions?
Deutsch: I think the questions that get a lawyer to just open up a little bit and talk in a more casual way and move away from their standard professional lines. Questions like “Why did you go to law school?” or “Why did you become a divorce lawyer?”
Queralt: When clients sit with an attorney for the initial consultation, does that mean that they have to pick that attorney?
Deutsch: Absolutely not. And the longer that I’ve been doing this the more that I think that even if a client has a great feeling about the first person they meet it is very smart to go sit for a consultation with somebody else and get perspectives from a few different people. It is definitely worth taking the time before a client hires somebody to be confident that it’s a good choice and a good fit. Divorce can be a very disempowering process. So any opportunity that a client has to take control of the process, feel in control and feel like they’re in the driver’s seat is always something that I support.
Queralt: What do you find are some common mistakes or some common things that clients overlook when it comes to picking their attorney?
Deutsch: In all of our interviews there comes a point in the meeting with the prospective client where we say “What do you want to know about us?” And that is us opening the door to having an open conversation and getting to know the client on a personal level. But so often clients are a little bit surprised actually to be asked or to be given the opportunity to ask open-ended questions that they kind of don’t know what to do with it. I think the biggest problem is clients don’t realize that they’re in the driver’s seat of this process and should absolutely be interviewing attorneys and should come armed with a list of questions.