Questions to Ask Your Potential Adoption Attorney

Before selecting an adoption attorney, be sure to do your research and ask these crucial questions to any potential candidate.

A woman meeting with a potential adoption attorney

Steven M. Kirsh, past president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, says: “Niceness is not typically a concern when you are looking for an attorney to litigate a case, but in an adoption, when the attorney is going to have direct contact with the birth parents, you need your legal representative to be a likeable person!”

  • Is the attorney licensed to practice in the state where you live?
  • Is the attorney a member of your state’s bar association? (Lawyers don’t have to be admitted to the bar to practice, but there’s no good reason for an attorney not to be.)
  • Is the attorney a member of a voluntary professional organization (the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys)?
  • How long have you worked in adoption?
  • How many non-relative adoptions did you complete last year? (The answer should be at least 10.)
  • What percentage of your total practice is devoted to adoption? (Fifty to 100 percent suggests adoption expertise.)
  • Do you handle open adoptions, confidential adoptions, or both? Do you have strong feelings about openness?
  • What services do you provide? Will you actively assist me in finding an adoption situation, as well as handle the necessary legal work?
  • If the birth parents do not have their own attorney, can you help them find one, and, if so, how do you make that referral?
  • What is the average cost of the adoptions you have handled?
  • How do you bill? Is your fee an hourly rate, or do you charge a flat fee? (Experienced attorneys may have a higher hourly rate but charge less overall, because they spend less time than a less-experienced attorney would.)
  • Do you require a retainer fee in advance? If so, how much? What happens to my retainer fee if the birth mother changes her mind?
  • Do you see counseling for birth parents as helpful? Why or why not?
  • Will you accept collect calls from birth parents? Do you have a toll-free number?
  • When you are away from the office, is another knowledgeable attorney available?
  • In your practice, what percentage of birth mothers change their plans before placement, or before finalization? (An experienced, ethical attorney will tell you that some expectant women choose to keep their babies. An attorney who says he or she has never had a failure has done too few adoptions — or is not candid.)

“If I were to give tips for finding the right adoption agency/professional, I’d say, start by meeting other parents who have gone through the type of adoption you are seeking. They have stories to share, and often give great advice. Decide what is important to you, and write down all of your questions (and the agencies’ answers). You and your spouse should both meet with them in person, if you can, then go home and review together privately before you decide.”—Lara



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Adoption Attorneys

Jennifer Fairfax, Family Formation Law Offices
Jennifer Fairfax
Silver Spring, MD
DC, MD, VA
DC, MD, VA
Sogand Zamani, Zamani & Associates
Sogand Zamani
Washington, DC
DC, MD
Cofsky & Zeidman, LLC
Donald Cofsky
Haddonfield, NJ
NJ, PA
Joseph, Wiernicki, & Schimming, P.C.
Rockville, MD
DC, MD, VA
MD
Virginia L. Frank, PC
Boulder, CO
U.S. Newborn
CO, OK
CO, OK
Rosin Steinhagen Mendel
New York, NY
NJ, NY
DeSmidt Rabuse PLLC
Jody Ollyver DeSmidt
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
MN, WI
Solberg & Bullock, LLC
Ellyn J. Bullock
Champaign, IL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
IL
Michael S. Goldstein, Esq., LCSW
Rye Brook, NY
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International
FL, NJ, NY
Messerli Kramer
Gary A. Debele
Minneapolis, MN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
MN, WI
Gregory A. Franklin, Esq.
Gregory A. Franklin
Rochester, NY
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
NY
Lyford Law
C.J. Lyford
Lafayette Hill, PA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
PA
Kirton McConkie
Salt Lake City, UT
UT
Atty. Theresa L. Roetter of Annen Roetter, LLC
Madison, WI
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
WI
McCarthy Weston, pllc
Flagstaff, AZ
AK, AZ, MO, NE
Adoption Law Center of Middle TN, PLLC
Jenny Hall
Nashville, TN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
TN
Horn Law Group, LLC
Margaret Moriarty
Toms River, NJ
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
NJ
Family Formation
Megan Cohen
Lafayette, CA
U.S. Newborn
CA
Jenny L. Womack, P.C.
Dallas, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
TX
Law Office of Jennifer R. Cochran-Green
Austin, TX
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
TX
Mills Meyers Swartling P.S.
Seattle, WA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
WA
The Kern Law Firm PLLC
Jennifer K. Kern
Claremore, OK
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
OK
Shelley B. Ballard, PC
Chicago, IL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
IL
GoransonBain, PLLC
Dallas, TX
TX
Law Offices of Susan L. Stockham, P.A.
Susan L. Stockham, Esq.
Sarasota, FL
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
FL
Herrin & Leach, LLC
Nathan Leach
Indianapolis, IN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
IN
Law Offices of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A.
Danelle D. Barksdale
Tampa, FL
FL
Grady, Hayes & Neary, LLC
Stephen Hayes
Waukesha, WI
WI
Stanton Phillips – Adoption Legal Services
Vienna, VA
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
DC, VA
Adoption Legal Services of Oklahoma
Charles Watts
Oklahoma City, OK
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster
OK
Adoptions First, LLP
David Ellis
LOS ANGELES, CA
U.S. Newborn
CA
King, Spry, Herman, Freund, Faul, LLC
Dorota Gasienica-Kozak, Esq.
Bethlehem, PA
NJ, PA
Lisa L. Collins, Esq.
Nashville, TN
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Foster, International, Special Needs/Waiting Child
TN

See all adoption attorneys >


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