Minnesota's Family Law Blog

New vs. Old Divorce Lawyers

Does The Age Of My Divorce Lawyer Matter?

So, you ‘re calling around trying to find the right divorce lawyer. Do you go with the brand new lawyer who is dirt cheap? The Mid-Career lawyer? or the old seasoned veteran who everyone knows and is expensive?

Well, it depends on your case (and the lawyer) In my opinion and it is just that, my opinion, I’ve put together which clients should hire which lawyers:

New Lawyer:  (less than 5 years Experience) A new lawyer can be the next Clarence Darrow or he or she can be the next lawyer disbarred, you never know.    Pro’s are they are cheaper and sometimes have more enthusiasm towards the case than their more experienced colleagues. Con’s are everything is new to them.  My advice is hire the new lawyer for the simple cases.  By simple I mean no kids, limited assets or if there is very little conflict.  Why? Because they’re new!  You generally wouldn’t want your surgeon to be doing OJT (on the job training), so why have your lawyer do the same?  The one thing we have enough of in America is lawyers, there is always another divorce lawyer you can talk to if you don’t find the right one.

CAVEAT:  If the new lawyer works in a team approach with a more experienced lawyer it’s possible to actually get the best of both worlds, the lower cost of a young lawyer and the experience of an older lawyer.

Mid-Career Lawyer🙁 5-35 years Experience)  Usually the best bet for most divorces.  A mid-career lawyer will have seen most of the types of cases.  They will have made their mistakes early on in their career and generally they aren’t so experienced they’ve burnt out.   If I had to narrow it done even more I’d say the “sweet spot” in experience is about 10-30 years experience.

Old Lawyer: (40+ years) While older lawyers can be fantastic, it’s my experience that older lawyers often “phone it in”.  I know, I know I’m ready for the AARP to send me some nasty letters, but after 40 years of practice that puts the  MINIMUM age of the lawyer at 65, more than likely older than that.  There is a reason retirement age is 65.  Many of the “old lawyers” I run into aren’t well versed in the law, they may not understand new technology (What is this Facebook thing all about?) and what I’ve often seen is that they feel a sense of entitlement as if they know everything and since they did a farm divorce back in 1973 the know what a farm divorce looks like in 2014.  That sort attitude isn’t going to help you settle a case.  It will help push the case to trial which can be a pretty significant expense.  And we haven’t discussed the pretty steep hourly rate lawyers with 40+ years charge.

Now it’s a little different if you’re looking for a mediator.  Then it’s nearly the opposite in my opinion, you may want to avoid the new and mid-career attorney and instead go with old-timer.  This is the instance where having grey (or no) hair will be a benefit in settling the case.  I know many people think that a young mediator is the way to go, but I’m not sold on it.  My belief is if I’ve been practicing longer than the  mediator why would I listen to him or her for advice on the outcome of the case?

Well there you go, a little controversial and I expect some nasty comments or emails, but thank God for the 1st Amendment.

Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com may contain knowledgable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in your Family Law matter, contact 507-205-9736.

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Comments 1
  1. It’s good to know that older divorce lawyers can be more experienced but also more expensive. My friend is getting a divorce soon and needs to find an attorney. She’ll have to weigh her options and see who her personality works with.

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