Ugh. Do not hire Donna Dougherty to handle your case. When you meet her, you'll find that she is, in my opinion, brash and abrasive and unquestionably condescending. Your first thought is "Perfect, that's how she's going to work tirelessly on my behalf." You'll be wrong. That's how she'll continue to treat you and good luck getting to effectively advocate on your behalf. In my specific experience, she will rather yell at you (as her client) than work with opposing counsel on an amicable resolution (as I've learned since severing ties with this firm).
My initial consult was full of "we're going to do this" and "we'll file this" and all great salesmanship. I was excited...finally an attorney that really wants to do more than push papers and genuinely wants to help create an optimal outcome for my child. Boo. Within 2 days of writing that first big monster retainer check to Donna, before any additional documentation was provided, the tone rapidly degraded to (paraphrased) "well, I'm not sure" and "hopefully we'll prevail" type speak. Sadly, I fell for it all and have lost almost every financial resource in the process. Now Donna is going after what little is left. That's really all you need to know about the character of the character.
To say I've had nothing but problems feels like a gross understatement. Donna ran up my legal tab at a rate that has offended attorneys I've consulted with since; and it takes a lot to offend another attorney. Ultimately, Donna lost my case. Anything can happen in a courtroom, but this was a worst case scenario in the face of what should have been, fairly objectively, a ruling 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Despite being the attorney I retained, Donna did not appear at the hearing to argue for attorney fees (sadly, the mostly expensive part of the entire matter) and sent an associate instead. That mistake was another $12000+ on top of the mostly unsubstantiated $20k+ billed for a very simple case (that she lost).
Now Donna is suing me although I've yet to be provided any granular itemization of the billable work "provided." Always beware of lawyers that gleefully sue their clients; it's a litmus test as to where their priorities lie in terms of monetary greed vs client advocacy. And, to pour more salt in the wound, Donna is now demanding 24% interest and thousands more in legal fees for suing her own client (me in this case). Her reputation in the local family law community exists for very good reasons. I wish I had figured that out beforehand (back before the reorganization of the firm).
FINAL WARNING: If you're dealing with a sensitive family law matter involving your young children and their private meetings with therapists, you may want to consider a law office that does not send confidential psychiatric documentation to the WRONG CLIENT! That's right. Donna's law office sent me an another client's very private and sensitive data regarding the child's meetings with a therapist. I've yet to ever be answered as to whether sensitive data from my case was sent to someone else. If you retain her, perhaps you can update me on my case if/when you receive the wrong confidential records too.
Don't make the mistake of making what is likely the most stressful and emotionally wrenching process of your life that much worse by hiring an attorney that values your checking account significantly more than operating in the best interests of you and your child/children.
over 3 years ago