Friday, July 22, 2011

Attorney dilemma

We have a dilemma about our adoption attorney. When we ask anyone associated with adoption in our area, they all mention Mr. X as far and away the best adoption lawyer in the area. No need to go to anyone else. Keep in mind that since we are going through an agency, what we need from a lawyer is someone to handle the legal issues themselves, not someone who will find us a match. We spoke with several adoption lawyers in our state and while a few said, "sure I'll take your profile just in case," they made it clear that they don't really handle the matching or placement side of things, just the legal issues of terminating parental rights, ICPC, finalization, etc. But still all the adoption professionals and other adoptive parents we know in this area all say to work with Mr. X.

But then there is Mrs. Y. She's a good friend. And a lawyer. Who has a dream of focusing on adoption law. See my dilemma? She is also a new lawyer, which makes things more complicated. I mean, if she had more experience, we would probably feel more comfortable having her as our lawyer despite the rave reviews for Mr. X. But she is a newbie and I don't want to be the case in which she makes a newbie mistake. But since she is so new, she is also in the process of setting up her practice. This means that she ends up doing much work for free so she can make connections that then lead to paying jobs. But making this transition has been difficult. And as her friend, I am on the receiving end of hearing how she is struggling financially and trying to find paying clients. And I am at a loss as to what to do. As her friend, of course I want to help her out and want to be her sounding board. But as someone in need of legal assistance, I'm not sure I feel comfortable using her. And that makes me feel like a horrible friend.

P.S. There is no update about our potential match.


  1. That is a tough one! I don't have any advice on the matter, sorry! I guess you just have to go with your gut (and heart) and do what you feel is best for your growing family - if that means going with Mr. X, then that is what you have to do and hopefully your friend will understand. Good luck with the decision!
    And hope you get some cooler weather - I would happily send you ours if I could!!

  2. As someone that has had to call on their attorney after the adoption, I strongly recommend you go with the seasoned attorney.

    It's expecting a lot to ask someone to place something so critical in the hands of someone lacking experience. I would hope your friend would understand, despite how vocal she has been about her challenges building her practice.

  3. I say go with the experienced lawyer too. Wouldn't it be awful for you and your friendship if something went wrong? In cases like these, I think its OK to give another reason why you're going with someone else: your agency recommends getting an attorney with x level experience, your husband (or you) never use friends for professional service, etc. Good luck.

  4. What a tough spot to be in. Does the decision need to be made right away? I'm one who tends to shy away from conflict (outside of my marriage, anyway), so I'd probably just pretend nothing was going on until I absolutely had to make a decision. Then blame it on the agency. A bit passive-aggressive, yes, but it pays to spare your friend's feelings, don't you think?

  5. I agree with what Sarah B said. But on the other hand, is there anyway you could work with your friend and Mr X? Maybe Mr X would be willing to help her learn the ropes? (Naive thinking on my part, I'm sure.) Do what you feel is best for your situation.

  6. Happy ICLW! I'm thinking along the lines of what JustHeather said. If it's not Mr. X, perhaps she can get supervision from a seasoned attorney? Most professionals should be doing that anyway with new ventures, ya know? And the supervision is something *she* should pay for.

    I hope you get a match update soon! Just starting international adoption ourselves, and it's already daunting. But, if we handled IF, we can handle ANYTHING.:D

    ICLW #38

  7. That is a bit of a dilemma. I would struggle with this, but I think I would have to go with Mr X. This is so important and she does not seem experienced enough yet.
    I hope you get an update soon!


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