I should have been suspect when I was quoted $1000 for a custody case that had otherwise been quoted at at least $20k, but SALC is subsidized. Turns out, I got what I was paying for, which wasn't much.
Clue 2: when I forwarded the emails from the opposing and former attorney to Ms. Lukes, she told me she would not read them because it was too expensive. Nor would she listen to prior hearings, video and audio evidence of abuse, read confession sent by abuser, etc.
Clue 3: her stating that she refused to work on the case until the custody evaluator finished their report, despite hearings between when she was retained and the still pending custody evaluation.
Clue 4: refusing to provide a corrected cost estimate on the case
Clue 5: providing 2 business hours notice of the cost of a critical expert witness, and her anger with me that I could not come up with $750 between 4pm on Monday and 9am the following morning for the hearing.
Clue 6: not responding to simple emails asking basic questions (i.e. what does the most recent order say? what documents do I need to provide? how much money do you need to start working on the case)
Clue 7: telling me to present my case to the custody evaluator INSTEAD of her, and not bothering to mention up front that everything I gave to the custody evaluator would be given to opposing counsel. Eventually, she did mention it, but after I had already turned over some documents I didn't want opposing counsel to take out of context.
She represented me at one hearing. She was COMPLETELY FOCUSED on proving that an order signed previously was done so without valid cause. I told her (based on the opposing counsel's witness list) what I expected the other side to present at that hearing. She disregarded and did not adequately prepare. Within the first few minutes of the hearing, at opposing counsel's request, the judge agreed not to revisit the prior hearing. Ms. Lukes was completely un-prepared for the 6 hours of hearing to follow.
I had provided her physical evidence for defense of my position. She did not use any of it. I'm not an attorney, and I know pro-se is NOT THE WAY TO GO, but in this case, I would have been better off if I had.
For the record she dropped me as a client when I asked how much it would cost for her to start actually representing me.
To The Battered Wives of Rich Men: Don't bother with SALC. Have no faith in the legal system. Money is all that truly matters there. Do whatever necessary to get it. Fight for your children, no one else will. Once the courts are involved, it's all strategy about winning or loosing, not what is best for the children.
If he beats you or the children before a custody case is established, take the kids, run and hide, however you can.
~the former Buddhist.