What Can I Do to Lower My Attorney Fees?
There’s no doubt a client has a significant degree of control over attorney fees incurred in their cases. Since the biggest factor in overall cost of divorce is conflict, if a client manages the level of conflict, carefully picking and choosing the battles, it will have a big impact on the cost of the case.
There’re many other things clients can do to minimize the costs of a case. For example, hiring a law firm with experience in issues similar to the ones in your case minimizes any learning time you’d have to pay for. Experience of a lawyer and staff should reduce the overall cost of your case.
Another important thing a client can do is to focus their communications with a lawyer as much as possible. Consolidate emails, don’t call reactively, ask yourself if the phone call, or email, is worth the money prior to reaching out.
Don’t use your lawyer as a therapist. Good lawyers try and keep your focus on the strategic objectives in your case, and away from arguments about fault, and highly emotional conflicts with no bearing on the outcome. Your lawyer needs to know all the facts but involving him or her in the day-to-day struggles can quickly get expensive.
Finally, recognizing the impact a successful mediation may have on the overall cost of your case can significantly lower your overall expenses. If the parties are able to avoid a hearing, where lawyers spend hours and hours preparing their witnesses, exhibits, and arguments, time and money invested in mediation are worth every penny.
Are all lawyers and retainers the same?
Deciding which lawyer to hire can be a make or break decision for your case. There’s a significant degree of difference between family law lawyers, and selecting the right one may be one of the most important choices you can make in the entire process.
It’s important to carefully consider candidates to be your lawyer. You’re not only interviewing the lawyer, but you’re also interviewing the law firm. Ask hard questions. Listen carefully for specific answers. Look for organization and delegation and efficiency. A solo lawyer at a desk buried in paperwork, surrounded by disorganized filing cabinets, with an antiquated computer system is probably not going to deliver quality results.
Factors to look for in making your decision include:
- Experience of lawyer and staff
- Billing practices
- Appropriate delegation of tasks within the staff
- Whether the lawyer approaches cases strategically, or are they reactive
- The professionalism of the attorney and staff
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