I was asked recently about representing a client in the metro Detroit area. While I was deeply flattered that someone would ask me to represent their interests in a family law matter, I declined, with an explanation that I will share here.
Your attorney needs to be accessible, in an in-person capacity if necessary. While it is not a reasonable expectation that your attorney be available to meet in person on the same day you contact them, prompt communication and regular accessibility are essential to a healthy, mutually beneficial attorney-client relationship. In the situation above, I felt like I couldn't realistically make myself available to someone over two hours away in the same capacity that I am available to my clients residing around southwest Michigan.
Would it be okay for an attorney to accept a case when they know that they'll be less available for that client than for other, similar clients? Perhaps it would meet the minimum standards of professional responsibility for Michigan attorneys, but I think that's why it is referred to as a minimum standard. I know how difficult the family law process can be for people, and I know that this individual in greater Detroit needs a local attorney.
I offer my services in Allegan, Branch, Barry, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties. If you consult a map, you'll note that I travel within Kalamazoo County, and to all of the counties that surround it. That's the travel limit. Any farther and the case will need to be referred to a colleague working geographically closer to the client.