During the process of divorce, custody, domestic violence, etc., you may find it necessary and advantageous to hire an attorney to represent you in legal matters. If you're new to the 'attorney scene' it can be quite confusing as to how to go about hiring an attorney and what to expect once your attorney is hired.
First, not all attorneys are created equal and in Hawaii it's difficult to find an attorney who is really willing to look out for your best interests. As we find good attorneys, we'll post their contact information for you and you'll be able to comment on their performance should you decide to hire them.
The main problem with Hawaii attorneys is that they are dealing with a corrupt judiciary so, no matter how much they'd like to follow the law or even apply the law in your case, there is at least one Family Court judge who is out of control, Mr. Keith Tanaka. We are hoping that the integrous attorneys will utilize AngelGroup to step forward (even if anonymously) and help correct the inherent issues that are plaguing our legal system. We also are hoping that there are a few attorneys who have the moxy and the backbone to stand up for their clients, apply ethics and hold the judiciary accountable when violation are committed.
To this point, there has been a screaming silence which has resulted in the judiciary being given free reign to commit violations of civil rights as well as violations of Family Court Rules and Hawaii State Law, behind closed doors. It's not a secret. It's just a question of when it will stop and who will be able to say they had the courage to do the 'right thing'.
That being said, here are a few guidelines of what you should expect from your attorney:
- Independence - your attorney must be able to be objective, independent from you and any other entangling alliances.
- Responsiveness - your attorney should return your phone calls, emails and correspondence within a reasonable period of time and produce documentation as promised.
- Candor - your attorney should be honest and straight forward, even if the truth stings. If your attorney is not candid, you will question their judgement and the relationship will be compromised.
- Solutions - your attorney should be able to identify the problem and create the most practical solution. Anything short of this and the attorney's advice is useless.
- Fair billing - your attorney should bill only for actual time spent on your case, be economic in application of time and apply all necessary time to the solution
- Sense of "humanity" - your attorney is doing a "job" which is regulated by rules and principles; however, it is also their duty to provide counsel; acknowledging the imperfections of the "human condition". This should be a thread that runs through the relationship with you as well as the other side, and it is critical to mature legal advice.
- Up-to-date - your attorney should be current on the developments in their chosen field. Feel free to ask what professional seminar the attorney has attended in the past year. They should also be aware of new laws on the books, passed by or in discussion with the legislators.
- Cost-efficient - your attorney should attempt to solve your legal problems at the lowest possible cost.
- Confidentiality - your attorney should not discuss any part of your case with unrelated or uninvolved parties. Likewise, your attorney should not divulge details of your case or statements you made in confidence to the opposing side unless it was discussed with you first.