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5 Essential Ways to Find the Best Family Law Firm in Gold Coast 2024

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Dealing with family law issues can be challenging, especially when seeking legal assistance. Finding a family lawyer who has the necessary expertise and meets your specific requirements can feel overwhelming.

This article will help you through the best strategies to identify a suitable family law firm in Gold Coast. You can use personal referrals, assess online reviews and conduct effective initial consultations. We cover vital steps to ensure you make an informed decision. You may be dealing with divorce, custody issues, or property settlements. Our tips will help streamline your search for the ideal legal advocate.

Key takeaways

  • Understand Your Needs. Clearly define your legal requirements to find a suitable law firm, whether it’s divorce, custody, or financial orders.
  • Check Reviews for Insights. Analyse ratings and read reviews to understand a lawyer’s strengths and weaknesses.
  • Seek Referrals from Trusted Sources. Ask family and friends for lawyer recommendations for insights based on personal experiences.
  • Evaluate Online Presence and Expertise. Assess their website and online presence for qualifications, experience, and family law approach.
  • Maximise Consultations. Prepare case details, list questions, and evaluate the lawyer’s communication skills. Compare lawyers across consultations and consider their follow-up communication.

Check Review Sites

Reviews are an important source of information. However, it would be best to approach them to get the most out of them correctly. Here’s how you can do that.

SFL - 5 star reviews for law firms in gold coast

Checking Overall Rating

The overall rating gives a quick, aggregated view of the law firm’s performance as perceived by clients. However, reading beyond the rating and delving into the written reviews for more context is essential.

Understanding Strengths and Weaknesses

Look for consistent themes in the reviews. These are likely reliable strengths if the law firm is consistently praised for their communication, empathy, or negotiation skills. If issues like unresponsiveness or lack of transparency in fees keep cropping up, these could be areas of concern.

Reading a Variety of Reviews

Reading a range of reviews is essential to get a balanced view. Sometimes, a few extremely positive or negative reviews can skew the perception. Reading a variety of reviews, including both recent and older ones, can provide a more comprehensive picture.

Assessing Specificity and Relevance

Pay attention to reviews that mention specific situations or cases similar to yours. This can give you insight into the lawyer’s expertise in areas relevant to your needs. Specific details in a review can be more informative than vague or generic praise or criticism.

Evaluating Responsiveness to Negative Reviews

If there are negative reviews, see if and how the lawyer or their firm has responded. A professional and constructive response to criticism can signify a responsible and client-focused approach.

If you require assistance in divorce, resolving your property or parenting matters, contact Shanahan Family Law for a free initial discovery call.

Ask Family and Friends for Referrals

For several reasons, asking family and friends for referrals when looking for a family law firm on the Gold Coast can be beneficial.

SFL - referrals

Trusted Source

Recommendations from family and friends come from a place of trust and personal experience. If someone you trust had a positive experience with a lawyer, it increases the likelihood that you might have a similar experience.

Real World Insights

Family and friends can provide first-hand accounts of their interactions with the lawyer. These may include communication style, responsiveness, fees, and overall effectiveness. This information can be more detailed and nuanced than online reviews.

Reading a Variety of Reviews

Reading a range of reviews is essential to get a balanced view. Sometimes, a few extremely positive or negative reviews can skew the perception. Reading a variety of reviews, including both recent and older ones, can provide a more comprehensive picture.

Understanding of Your Needs

People who know you well can understand your specific needs and circumstances. That can help them recommend a lawyer they believe will be a good fit for you and your case.

Emotional Support

Navigating family law issues can be emotionally challenging. Getting a referral from a family member or friend can also mean having a support system in place, as they will likely understand your emotional journey.

To ask for referrals properly and effectively:

Be Open About Your Needs

Communicate what you are looking for in a lawyer. Whether it’s expertise in a specific area of family law, a particular approach (like mediation-first), or a lawyer sensitive to specific emotional dynamics, being open about your needs helps others provide suitable recommendations.

Respect Privacy 

Family law matters are often sensitive. Respect the privacy of your family and friends by not pressing for details they might be uncomfortable sharing. Similarly, ensure them that any information they provide will be kept confidential.

Ask Specific Questions

Instead of a general request for recommendations, ask specific questions. For example, inquire about how the lawyer handled communication, the complexity of their case, the fee structure, and the outcome.

Diversify Your Sources 

Don’t rely solely on one recommendation. Try to get a few different opinions, as this will give you a broader base for comparison.

Follow-Up with Your Own Research

Use referrals as a starting point, but do your research as well. Look up the lawyers online, check their credentials, read additional reviews, and schedule consultations to make your assessment.

Check their website and online presence

When assessing a Gold Coast family lawyer’s website for their suitability to your needs, there are several key elements to look for:

SFL - doing research and checking website

On the Lawyer’s Website

Areas of Expertise

Ensure the law firm specialises in family law and look for specific areas they cover (e.g., divorce, child custody, property settlements). This is crucial for finding a lawyer with the right expertise.

Professional Qualifications

Check their educational background, certifications, and any additional training or accreditation in family law. This information speaks to their level of expertise.


Look for information about their experience, particularly in handling cases similar to yours. Years of practice, types of cases dealt with, and success stories can indicate their proficiency.

Client Testimonials and Case Studies

These can provide insights into the lawyer’s effectiveness and how they have helped clients in similar situations.

Legal Philosophy and Approach

Some law firms may share their approach to family law on their website, whether they favour mediation, collaborative methods, or are more litigation-oriented. This can help you determine if their style aligns with your preferences.

Fees and Billing Information

Transparent information about fees and billing practices is vital for financial planning and avoiding surprises.

Resources and Information

Blogs, articles, FAQs, or downloadable resources indicate a law firm’s commitment to educating and assisting clients beyond the courtroom.

Contact Information and Accessibility

Easy-to-find contact details and information about consultation processes show the lawyer’s accessibility.

Other Forms of Online Presence

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LinkedIn Profiles

  • Professional Background. LinkedIn profiles can provide a more detailed look at the lawyer’s professional journey, peer endorsements, and any publications or articles they’ve written.
  • Network and Connections. Their connections can give you an idea of their standing in the legal community.

Legal Directories

  • Ratings and Reviews. Websites like Avvo or the Law Society of Queensland can have additional reviews and ratings.
  • Disciplinary Records. Check if they have any history of disciplinary actions.

Social Media

  • Engagement with Community. Their activity on platforms like Facebook or Twitter can show how they engage with the community and their approachability.
  • Updates and Insights. Regular posts about family law can demonstrate their knowledge and dedication to their field.

Online Articles and Publications

  • Expertise and Thought Leadership. Articles or papers published in legal journals or reputable websites can showcase their knowledge and thought leadership in family law.
  • Webinars or Online Workshops. Participation in or hosting webinars and workshops can signify their commitment to public education and their expertise in family law topics.

If you require assistance in divorce, resolving your property or parenting matters, contact Shanahan Family Law for a free initial discovery call.

Set up a consultation

Approaching initial consultations with family law firms effectively is key to making an informed decision. Here’s how to get the most out of these meetings:


Before the Consultation

Prepare Your Case Details

Organise all relevant information about your case, including dates, financial documents, correspondence, and any legal documents already filed. This helps the lawyer understand your situation quickly.

List Your Questions

Write down all the questions you want to ask. These could include queries about their experience, approach to cases like yours, communication style, fee structure, and expected timelines.

Understand Your Goals

Be clear about what you want to achieve. Knowing your goals helps assess whether the lawyer’s approach aligns with your needs, whether it’s a quick settlement, custody arrangements, or property division.

Budget Considerations

Have a clear idea of what you can afford and understand that while some law firms offer free initial consultations, others may charge a fee.

During the Consultation

Assess Communication Skills

Pay attention to how the lawyer communicates. Are they clear and understandable, and do they listen well? Good communication is crucial in legal representation.

Evaluate Their Approach

Discuss their approach to cases like yours. Are they more inclined towards mediation or litigation? Make sure their approach aligns with your preferences and goals.

Experience and Expertise

Inquire about their family law experience, particularly in cases similar to yours. Ask for examples of past cases and outcomes.

Discuss Fees and Billing

Get detailed information about their fee structure, billing practices, and any additional costs that may arise. This helps in avoiding any surprises later on.

Gauge Their Interest and Availability

Assess their interest in your case and their availability to take it on. A lawyer who seems overburdened may need more time to give your case the attention it deserves.

Ask About the Next Steps

Understand what the next steps would be if you decide to hire them. This includes timelines, documentation needed, and the overall legal process.

After the Consultation

Reflect on Your Comfort Level

After the meeting, reflect on how comfortable you felt with the lawyer. Trust your instincts about whether you can work with them.

Compare and Contrast

If you have consultations with multiple lawyers, compare their responses, approaches, and your comfort level with each.

Check for Follow-Up

Note if the lawyer follows up with you after the consultation. This can be an indicator of their responsiveness and client service.

Decision Time

Based on the information gathered and your impressions, make an informed decision about which law firm is the best fit for your needs.


Finding the best family law firm in Gold Coast requires careful consideration and research. Utilise personal referrals and online reviews, and assess lawyers’ business websites for their expertise and approach. Remember, the ideal lawyer should be skilled and resonate with your values and needs. Following these steps, you can confidently navigate the legal landscape. You will find a lawyer to represent and guide you effectively through family law matters.

If you’re looking for effective family law representation, Shanahan Family Law can help. Our law firm has become a trusted source of legal support on the Gold Coast. The Shanahan team can assist with all aspects of family law, from divorce to parenting and financial arrangements and handling domestic violence situations. Contact us today and set up a free discovery call.

Are you looking for family lawyers?

Shanahan Family Law, founded in 2009, focuses on delivering positive outcomes for clients by listening, caring, and tailoring services to individual needs. Let us help you find a positive outcome.

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Luke Shanahan Family Law

Luke Shanahan


Luke Shanahan is the Principal Solicitor of Shanahan Family Law. Luke has been practising family law since 2008 and started his firm in 2014. He has three beautiful daughters and a supportive, gorgeous wife. In his spare time, Luke enjoys playing tennis and trips to the beach with family and friends. 

Luke is dedicated to providing the best possible legal representation for his clients. His experience and passion for family law set him apart from other solicitors. You only have to read their 5-star reviews to understand that.

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