I have been on the internet recently, looking at the number of resources available to family law clients. As with anything on the internet, some are good and some are bad. Some contain accurate information and some do not. Some are a neutral explanation of the law and others are a soapbox. Being an informed consumer of such sites is important.

Caveat emptor also applies to the retainer of a family lawyer. There are many Toronto family lawyers. How do you choose the right one? This is not a one size fits all proposition. The lawyer your neighbour’s sister’s uncle used might not be the right person for you. Your lawyer should feel tailor made to fit your needs.

I tell clients who come in for a consultation to meet one or two other lawyers before retaining someone. Find out who is out there and speak to them face to face. A name and a bio on the internet, while it might help you weed out the rabble, is no way to choose counsel.

Think carefully about the decision to retain counsel. You should feel comfortable with this person – you will be sharing the intimate details of your relationship and your finances with this person.

The selection of representation is an important decision. It will impact, and could even dictate, how your case will develop. Do you want a shark or someone who is settlement oriented? An old school litigator or someone who will negotiate a resolution on your behalf?

Hire a specialist. A family lawyer with experience in the particular areas that apply to your case. Someone who listens when you talk but isn’t trying to be your therapist. Someone who gives clear and understandable advice. Someone who explains the law to you and the impact of your decisions. Hire a family lawyer you trust. Plain and simple. If you do that, the rest is easy.