Searching for the right NY divorce attorney for you is a daunting task, especially with all the hype that’s out there on the web. To get a sense of what I’m referring to, just Google “NY divorce specialist” and you will be inundated with a long list of lawyers and law firm that claim to “specialize” in NY divorce law.
The problem is that advertising as a “divorce specialist” is an ethical violation of Part 1200 – Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 7.4 which provides that:
[a] lawyer or law firm shall not state that the lawyer or law firm is a specialist or specializes in a particular field of law …
Under the Rules of Professional Conduct, lawyers may ethically state that they “concentrate” in an area of law which represents the majority of their practice. Lawyers may also also state which areas their practice is limited to, if any. But using the word “specialize” is an ethical violation that may result in disciplinary actions against the attorney advertising in such a way.
A New York lawyer who represents themselves as family law or divorce specialists either knows about this rule and is consciously disregarding it or is completely oblivious of their blatant violation. Either way, this is a bad sign. It should raise red flags for you during your search. Anyone who is breaking rules or ignorant of them probably won’t amount to what I would call a “good” lawyer. If they are making this mistake or simply don’t care, this is probably indicative of how they will represent you in your divorce: making serious mistakes or simply not caring about whether they violate the rules.
Choosing the right divorce lawyer for you is a difficult process. You are an individual with personal needs and not every divorce lawyer will or should be a good match for you. One way to make the process a little easier is to sift out the obvious bad choices by avoiding lawyers who either:
- know they are violating ethical rules and don’t care or
- who simply don’t know.