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Matt Interview Transcript

MA: Matt Arnold

BH: Brant Hart

BH: And good morning to you everyone this is Brant Hart your regular host for the program called The Legal Forum and we interview lawyers each week with different specialties about different topics that are of interest to our listeners and today we have Matt Arnold who grew up right here in Charlotte he attended Carmel Junior High and Providence Senior High. He played basketball on a scholarship at Belmont Abbey. After graduating cum laude, with a degree in Psychology he went on to attend UNC Chapel Hill on a full academic scholarship. Matt had his first trial before graduating from law school. After graduation he returned to Charlotte to begin his practice handling insurance defense litigation for several major insurance companies. He went on to handle high value mortgage fraud and business litigation cases. In 2007 Matt and his law partner started their own, firm Arnold & Smith, PLLC in uptown Charlotte. He mainly focuses his practice on family law cases including: divorce, child custody, child support, alimony, equitable distribution and other matrimonial law matters. Matt we are so glad that you could be here with us this morning.

MA: Thank you very much for having me, I appreciate you.

BH: And today we are talking about divorce matters and our first question here Matt is what should a person look for when researching a divorce attorney?

MA: That’s really a very very very good question and it’s a difficult task for anybody to tackle. Um, inevitably when someone is looking for someone like me, stress is high and generally things aren’t going well in their lives and it’s a difficult time to make a big decision like that. Often things are in crisis and things are happening very quickly and people are under a great deal of stress but nonetheless even under those circumstances it is very important to make sure a person makes the right decision and there are some tools out there, some strategies that can be deployed that can help someone through such a situation. There are a lot of lawyers in the world, there are a lot of lawyers in Charlotte, there are a lot of lawyers everywhere. Anybody who reads the news can see that, and those lawyers are just like anybody else, they differ in what sort of work they do, they differ in how well they do their work, just like a doctor or anybody else. The question is first I think, how to find somebody who knows what they are doing, who can handle family law matters. There are a number of ways to first do that. The sort of time honored tradition is to talk to your friends, family, neighbors and other folks who have gone through similar situations and see if they know of anyone or if they have worked with anyone who they can recommend. I think most people recognize that since the beginning of lawyers, lawyers have gotten most of their work through word of mouth referrals. So there is really no better way in my view to get sort of an idea of somebody who might be a good fit than to talk to other people who have been through it, who can tell you first-hand what their experiences have been like. Now that is sort of the traditional method. There are sort of more modern methods available and most of them are the result of the internet. The internet has accelerated and amplified just about everything in our lives and one of the things it has sort of done is it has made the word of mouth referral process faster and more open to the public. And there are websites and credential mechanisms available for finding a lawyer who does family law and seeing what other people have to say about that lawyer. It is much like the word of mouth referral system that I described before but it is faster and you have a larger sample set. Probably the most widely used website that does that sort of thing is called Avvo. And that is a website where people, past clients, can go on there and give feedback on their experiences with their lawyers. It’s like any sort of review website or feedback kind of website, they rate, they give critiques and reviews and things like that. So that’s a really, and you can search that website by practice area, by geographic location and so on and so forth and you can see that is a really good website. It can give you information about any sort of discipline matters lawyers had, it gives information about how long they have practiced, publications they have had, notable trials and cases that they have worked on. So it’s a good starting point. There is also a website similar to that and it is called superlawyers.com. And that is an entity that identifies what they call “Super lawyers” and “Rising Stars”. That website isn’t quite as focused on the consumer review it’s more of a peer review process. There are lawyers who are deemed by that outfit to be Super Lawyers or Rising Stars. Also Google has reviews built into it so if one Googles “Charlotte Divorce Lawyer” for example you can see a number of lawyers in Charlotte who have setup their web presence to identify themselves as doing that sort of practice area. Google also allows consumers to give reviews and ratings and so on and so forth.

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