When most people think of hiring an attorney, they usually have an idea in mind as to what they want. They usually think that they will be hiring someone who will be able to advocate for them. They probably imagine that they will have someone who will stand by them and help them win their case. Despite the images that come to mind, there are numerous structures for law firm fees and many types of services available. This article is aimed at talking about some of the ways that attorneys structure their law firm fees and what types of services are generally covered.
There are some firms that offer a “flat” or “fixed” fee for divorce cases. The name is pretty clear — you pay one amount. While this may sound like an attractive option, the reality can be pretty grim. The thing that most firms that offer “flat fee” divorces don’t want you to know, is that the service is limited. Because of the nature of a fixed rate, the services provided may be brief, include minimal work, and will likely not be robust enough, should you encounter difficulty in your divorce. Unfortunately, this is probably something that these firms won’t discuss with you before you retain them.
Another form of services provided by attorneys is called “unbundled services”. Think of a typical attorney-client relationship like a bundle of sticks. Usually, you get the whole “bundle”. This is the thought behind unbundled services — they break off little parts of what you would normally get from hiring an attorney and sell it on a piecemeal basis. It’s kind of like legal services a la carte. Again, there are some weaknesses with unbundled legal services. Generally, an attorney limits the scope of their services to help you draft a document or two, or perhaps they will provide very limited guidance and/or legal advice. However, if push comes to shove and you need full-service representation, unbundled services usually don’t make the grade.
Aside from these other forms of services offered by attorneys, there are more standard types of representation. In this instance, when you hire an attorney, they provide you with complete representation. This can run the gamut — from providing legal advice to drafting documents, to showing up in court on your behalf. Usually, for this type of service, you will post some amount for a retainer, and you will be expected to pay fees on an intermittent basis. This is the most robust form of legal service that you can get. Often, this is the safest choice as your attorney will be there for you at every turn.
There are many types of legal representation out there. However, when it all boils down, the more piecemeal and less expensive alternatives can carry a lot of risks. Briefly put, if you are in need of an attorney, you should consider the importance of your case. Do you really want to cut corners when there can be much at stake? If you believe that you need the assistance of an attorney, think about your options. Modern Family Law proudly offers free consultations with our team of skilled attorneys. We offer full legal services for all your divorce and family law needs. So do yourself a favor, and speak with one of our family law attorneys today.
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