The Harding Law Firm News

How to Use Peer Review Ratings to Choose the Right Lawyer

The Harding Law Firm - Thursday, January 23, 2014
When it comes to choosing the right lawyer, simply opening up the phone book and picking one is not going to give you the best results. So, how does one go about finding the right lawyer?  By examining the peer reviews.

You are probably already familiar with reviews – you can find them for nearly any product or service sold today. The Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ help those trying to find the right lawyer. You can use these to identify, evaluate, and select the most appropriate lawyer for your specific legal need.

Ratings serve as a third-party indicator that a lawyer has the skills and standards a person might need. When they are combined with the Martindale-Hubbell Client Review Ratings, a person hiring a lawyer gets fact based data to support their decision on which lawyer to hire.    

How the Ratings Work when Choosing the Right Lawyer
The Martindale-Hubbell ratings reflect a particular lawyer’s legal ability based on the following 5 key areas:

1.    Legal knowledge – in particular, a lawyer’s familiarity with the laws governing their area of practice
2.    Judgment – a demonstrated ability to drive the outcome of a given case
3.    Communication – the ability to communicate persuasively and with credibility
4.    Experience – the degree of experience in a specific area of practice
5.    Analytic capability – creativity when analyzing legal issues and applying legal knowledge

The Numeric Rating Definitions

The numeric ratings assigned to each lawyer for every category coincide with certification marks defined as follows:

4.5-5.0 AV Pre-eminent – the highest level of professional excellence
3.0-4.4 BV Distinguished – widely respected, these lawyers stand out from the competition

Charles Harding, the founder of The Harding Law Firm, is an AV Pre-eminent peer reviewed lawyer, the highest rating possible. When choosing a lawyer to handle your legal needs, you can’t go wrong if you pick the highest rated lawyers.

Steps to Choosing the Right Lawyer

Experts agree that choosing the right lawyer can be a tricky task for the lay person. We recommend using the following steps to finding the right lawyer:
1.    Consult your local bar association to find a list of local lawyers. Choose your location and get a list.
2.    Check independent reviews. This is where the Martindale-Hubbell ratings come in handy.
3.    Set up an appointment and ask questions. Have a good list of questions ready so you can maximize your time and determine whether the lawyer is the right one for you.

Contact The Harding Law Firm to learn more about how to get legal help in New York State. Contact us today at 518-384-3400 or fill in this contact form to schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal needs today.

Who Gets What As Alimony? Understanding Divorce in New York State

The Harding Law Firm - Monday, January 20, 2014

When it comes to getting a divorce in New York State, the state laws come to bear on the divorce action and at least one of those laws has to do with alimony. Alimony consists of payments made from one spouse to another during and after the divorce. The intent of alimony is to ensure that supported spouses continue to live in the same or a similar manner as they did while married. It is also a way to give a supported spouse the time to gain education or training in order to become self-sufficient.

In some states, alimony is known as spousal support but in New York, it’s called maintenance. A local divorce attorney will tell you that the terms will be used interchangeably.    

Two Types of Alimony During a Divorce in New York State
There are two types of alimony (or maintenance) available in New York state:

•    Temporary maintenance – this is paid while the divorce case is pending. It provides the supported spouse with immediate financial assistance taking into consideration the supported spouse’s reasonable needs and pre-divorce standard of living. This type of alimony ends when the final order of maintenance is signed.
•    Post-divorce maintenance – this is paid to the supported spouse after the divorce. It ends upon the death of either spouse, the remarriage of the supported spouse, or when the supported spouse is living with someone or appearing in public as the spouse of that person.

Alimony Guidelines for Divorce in New York State

Since October, 2010, the New York court system uses a standard formula based on spousal income to calculate temporary maintenance.  The formula for temporary maintenance is figured like this:

1.    Subtract 20% of the supported spouse’s income from 30% of the paying spouse’s income.
2.    Multiple the total incomes earned by both spouses by 40% and subtract the supported spouse’s income from that amount.

The court will determine the temporary maintenance based on the lower amount.

The guidelines for post-divorce maintenance are based on a number of factors, so there is no fixed formula. Some of the factors include (but are not limited to):

•    Income and property owned by each spouse
•    Length of the marriage
•    Age and health of both spouses
•    Present and future expected income
•    The ability of the supported spouse to be self-sufficient

•    Acts by one spouse that inhibit the other from achieving employment


Anytime one spouse is considering divorce or has been served with a divorce suit, it is important to get the best legal help you can. Scheduling a free divorce consultation is one way to see what a local divorce attorney in New York can do for you.

Contact The Harding Law Firm to learn more about how to get a divorce in New York State. You have the right to get what you deserve. Call us today at 518-384-3400 or fill in this contact form to schedule a free consultation today.