By Ron Gore
Cordell & Cordell Divorce Attorney
Excellent legal representation can be expensive. There’s just no way around it. However, there are some simple things you can do to reduce those costs.
The first thing you should do is be proactive about giving your attorney all the information he or she will need to prepare your case. Start by preparing a narrative of everything you can think of that might possibly be relevant to your case. When the narrative refers to a person, provide that person’s name, address, email address and phone number. When the narrative refers to a document, provide the document or instructions on how to get it.
Next, collect your questions and address them all at once with your attorney in emails or scheduled meetings. Clients often burn through their retainers by frequently calling or texting the attorney with questions that are not urgent and could have been asked more efficiently.
Normally, attorneys bill in time increments, such as a tenth of an hour (6 minutes). If you call your attorney to ask a question that takes only a minute to discuss, you’ve wasted the other 5 minutes that you’re paying for anyway. It’s better to collect your questions and have a 6-minute conversation, getting several questions answered for the same price.
Continuing with the theme of organized communication, the next tip is to respond promptly to your attorney’s requests for information with an organized and complete response. Giving only some of the information, or providing the information in an unorganized fashion only increases your costs and reduces your attorney’ effectiveness.
Clients often taken the view that since they are paying the attorney a great deal of money to provide quality representation, then the attorney or a paralegal should be the one to sift through a pile of documents and organize the information. That’s an expensive view to hold.
For sure, the attorney works for you. You’re definitely the boss when it comes to the big-picture decisions that will be made in the case. Take your position as the boss seriously and think of your legal representation as a business that wants to turn out the best product possible for the least amount of money.
If you’re paying your attorney hundreds of dollars per hour, don’t put them in the position of doing unnecessary work at that billing rate. That’s not an efficient way to run a business.
Delegate the task to the proper person. If you are providing your attorney a budget of your monthly expenses, don’t just give him or her a jumble of receipts and bank account statements. Think about how to maximize your investment in the attorney. You can prepare the budget for the attorney, providing a document for each entry proving its accuracy.
Finally, be reasonable. Too often, a client makes his case unnecessarily expensive by taking some inappropriate action or making some statement that hurts their case.
Always remember that the courts want, above all, a quick and fair resolution to the case. For this to happen, the parties must put emotion aside and act reasonably. Eventually, parties who act unreasonably wind up paying for it one way or another, in a lessor outcome, increased attorney fees for their own attorney, and even paying fees for the opposing party’s attorney.
Whenever you send a text or email, or even have a conversation with the other party, imagine that your words are plastered on a large exhibit in the courtroom on the day of trial. Are you proud of those words or that action? Are you happy for the judge to review what you said or did? If not, don’t do it. Assume your words and actions today will become an exhibit tomorrow.
Again, there’s no doubt that excellent legal representation can be very expensive. However, by following these tips and doing your best to act reasonably throughout the duration of your case, you can save yourself hundreds, or even thousands of dollars, all while empowering your attorney to get the best result possible.
While the cost of divorce can be unpredictable and expensive, it is important to hire an attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. Hiring the right attorney combined with these common-sense cost-cutting tips can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars in the long run.
To schedule an initial consultation with a men’s divorce attorney, contact Cordell & Cordell.