Avoid excessive attorney fees with flat fees
How often have you been convinced to pay more for services or a product and learned to regret it shortly after receiving the work or bringing the package home. More often than not you realize it when it is too late. There are certain items in the world in which we just feel that we are getting more simply because we are paying more. Is a Rolex a better watch than other luxury swiss time pieces or more impressive because it costs more? Not sure how to answer this but we buy a Rolex to impress we don’t hire an attorney to impress, you hire an attorney to meet your needs and actually accomplish a goal. Believe me other attorneys and courts are rarely as impressed with your attorney as you are. Too often I am hearing comments validating excessive billing and fees in this profession as individuals are forced to validate thousands of dollars for litigation actions. “You get what you pay for, they are not prepared, they cannot give the service we can, I know the judge personally, no one likes him or her”; and after paying $80,000.00 in attorney fees, usually from depleted 401k’s, people are stunned at the result and the value of these fees, not in a positive way.
Attorney Fee’s Are Attorney Fee’s : Do you get what you pay for?
Don’t misunderstand there are many qualified attorneys out there all charging different rates and fee scales but what is more honest and easily validated than quoting a price and doing the work necessary while honoring that price or presenting a multi-page agreement validating withdrawing from the case for unpaid fees and asking for hundreds of dollars an hour with no cap in the hours. I have said this before, this is the only service or profession that people are told it will be $350.00 – $600.00 per hour but we don’t know how many hours it will be. Sadly many people enter into these agreements and all parties know the individual cannot sustain this billable process. In the end the person pays thousands of dollars and before the resolution of the matter, when they can no longer pay more fees, the attorney withdraws and they lose that investment and are forced to seek new counsel, often before the actual trial.
Attorney Fee’s and Client Commitment
The question is, why cannot an attorney make the same commitment to their client that the client is making to them. We need to remember that the person sitting in front of us did not usually ask for a situation requiring an attorney and we need to remember that we are blessed by the fact that we deal with thousands of dollars for our services but the people giving us these thousands probably are going without to do it and more often than not could or cannot afford it. There are only so many individuals that can spend $100,000.00 for their divorce and if that makes them feel good and they feel they receive value for their money so be it, but the majority of the people out there cannot afford endless multi-thousand dollar bills and often find themselves without attorneys or fired by attorneys.
Attorney Fee’s to be on the look out for-
However, on the other side of the equation are the attorney fees that are so inadequate it is unlikely that the attorney is going to zealously perform the litigation as promised. Just as excessive attorney fees can be detrimental to the attorney/client relationship and case, inadequate fees can be just as detrimental. Beware the anxious and often hungry attorney willing to do something for a rate so below other attorneys spoken to that it is unlikely the fee will cover the costs and time needed to properly litigate the matter. An attorney may make promises they are unable to realistically keep for the fee charged. A good and experienced attorney, whether flat rate, sliding scale or billable hours should be able to reach an agreement with an end financial goal in site; a goal that meets the obvious and unforeseen needs of the case and the expectations of the parties.
Matters of litigation, especially domestic matters, are very difficult already enough without adding the stress of excessive attorney fees and twisting a divorce case into a collection case.