Some of the most common questions that we receive from our clients relate to how to keep attorney’s fees and costs to a minimum. While we do our best to use your money and our time efficiently, there are steps that every client can take to help move your case forward in a cost-effective manner.
- Pay Attention to Deadlines. There will be deadlines where certain documents need to be disclosed, or when we might need you to help complete a document. Ignoring our requests to provide this information in a timely manner means that we will be contacting you repeatedly to follow up to get what we need. This is not a good use of anyone’s resources.
- Organize. The client who brings in a stack of bank statements that are organized by account and in chronological order will see a far smaller charge from our office for processing those documents than the client who brings in documents that are out of order or missing pages. Properly organizing your own information will save fees.
- Clean Documents. Clients will often deliver documents to our office that include handwritten notes or highlighted comments for the attorney. Please do not ever do this on a document that needs to be disclosed to the other attorney – unless you also provide us with a clean copy that does not include your notes. When we receive marked-up statements, someone at our office must spend time redacting that information from each page so that your confidential notes are not shared with the other party.
- Be Truthful. Learning that a client omitted important but detrimental information is always costly. Be upfront with your attorney about damaging facts. Learning harmful information well into a case almost always delays finalizing a matter, and it minimizes our opportunity to work with you to address those problems BEFORE they come to the judge’s attention.
- Think About the Cost. It is tempting for all clients to spend time telling us how awful their formal partner is. Believe me, we get it. We see the correspondence and disclosure. We understand your pain. However, we are not the best people to help you cope with that pain. We are not mental health providers but often feel that we are cast into that role. You will be far more effectively helped for a lesser cost if you find a counselor covered by your insurance rather than using us to vent.
- Think About the Cost Part 2. You are paying your attorney hundreds of dollars an hour. Think about how you want to invest this money. It makes no sense to spend money for an attorney to argue about how your $5.00 teaspoons should be divided.
While we cannot ever make promises about how expensive a case might be, following the above tips will help client minimize the financial damage.