Individuals preparing to begin the divorce process often interview multiple attorneys prior to deciding on who to retain. Such a practice is prudent given the importance of the attorney-client relationship. A litigant’s impressions of the legal system and their acceptance of the divorce are influenced greatly by their relationship with their attorney. Just as a consumer should not buy a car without a test drive or purchase clothes without trying them on, a legal consumer should invest the time necessary to meet with potential attorneys in order to achieve the most beneficial result. Selecting an attorney involves establishing a relationship with the intended attorney and should involve an in-person interview or consultation whenever possible
Once an attorney has met with a potential client and obtained confidential information, that attorney is then precluded from representing the other spouse. This reality has lead many litigants to schedule interviews with multiple attorneys for no other purpose than preventing the attorney from representing the other party. Attorneys in New Jersey have recently been advised that encouraging such conduct on the part of a potential or new client is unethical. After considering this issue, the Advisory Committee on Professional Ethics authored and released Opinion – #73 – which serves notice that an attorney who advises his/her client to contact other lawyers for the purpose of denying their spouse from obtaining representation by counsel of his or her choice constitutes conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice.