Clients and attorneys are unique. They each have their own way of expressing
themselves, interacting with friends, family and professionals. Some people
are more open, some more doubting, some people worry and some are carefree.
Since people are so very different it becomes the work of the attorney
to try and guide the client in a manner that works for that particular
person while still advancing the goals and bringing the
divorce case to conclusion. The vast majority of divorce lawyers charge an advance
retainer and then reduce the "credit" the client has based upon
the hourly charge and fraction of time spent working for the client. Time
includes phone calls, emails, in office meetings, drafting documents,
court appearances and on occasion legal research.
The simplest suggestions to try to contain legal fees for clients is to
have their active but useful participation in their case. A client who
completes a Statement Of Net Worth and provides financial statements to
show the account balances, tax returns, w-2 and lists the assets/debts
will incur less expense for the attorney to understand the financial issues.
On the other hand, the client who provides me with a Statement Of Net
Worth that is incomplete or grossly exaggerated will require more of my
time to review and communicate with the client.
Last week a client came in and told me she was having serious problems
in her home. She wanted to speak to me immediately and since I was available
we did. What was her issue? She was angry that her husband paid an electrician
to change electric outlets to tamper resistant outlets. She was frustrated
that her father in law was sitting in his car across the street. I am
sure after she left my office she realized that neither of these were
"serious" problems, yet she felt compelled to drive over and
meet with me.
Time spent with your attorney is expensive and one of the best ways to
contain the cost is to selectively choose what is important and what is
not. Taking notes during a meeting can be very helpful for the client,
bringing a list of questions will help keep you organized and minimize
the need for more time. If you need a friend or family member to help
you remember things that works well.
The excellent matrimonial attorneys really want to help their clients get
the best results at a reasonable cost.