7 Tips to Keep Your Attorney Bills In Check

Your attorney bills in divorce can be overwhelming.  If you find yourself needing the services of an attorney, chances are you have enough worries without also being worried about astronomical attorneys’ fees. Even the cheapest attorneys aren’t “cheap,” and while you’d do well to think of your retainer with your attorney as an investment, you can help yourself keep costs down by following a few simple rules:

  1. Be Upfront
    Any attorney with his/her salt will do try to get the fullest picture of the situation from you, but if you hold information back, you only hurt yourself. There’s nothing worse than working with a client for months and then learning important information from the opposing party. You enjoy an attorney-client relationship and privilege with your attorney, so there’s usually no need to hold back on what you share:  be d issues of finances, fidelity, substance abuse/addiction, and similar issues.
  2. Keep Phone Calls Short
    In family law matters, you are usually paying your attorney on an hourly basis, for some portion of that hour. Keep your conversations short and to the point. Remember, the meter is always running. We enjoy talking to you, we do, but we charge for our time, so be sure to make the most of it.
  3. Bundle Your Questions
    This is the best pointer:  avoid making several calls or sending several emails a day. Each communication is billed for separately. So instead, make a list of your questions prior to calling, or keep an open, running email and send it once a day (or once a week if your case isn’t going full-tilt) and ask them all in one conversation.
  4. Don’t be an Ostrich
    Be responsive to your attorney and their staff. Just as you want your attorney to respond to you, we want to hear back from you.  If you are busy, let us know. Many things in litigation are time-sensitive, so don’t make us hound you or have to file motions to ask for more time.
  5. Organize Documents in Advance
    Prior to providing documents to your attorney, get yourself organized. Print copies of any digital documents or emails, and put them in some semblance of an order. Try your best to clearly label your documents, so that your attorney can readily ascertain what the documents are, and why you are providing them. Remember, if you provide your attorney with a stack of documents that are in disarray, your attorney or their staff is going to have to spend additional time sorting through and making sense of them. By being prepared, you will save time and keep your costs in check.
  6. Be Clear About Your Goals
    Be specific about what your goals are. What is it that you hope to accomplish through litigation? What is your top priority? What is your lowest? By clearly communicating your goals, your attorney will be better equipped to effectively and efficiently represent you.
  7. Be Realistic
    You cannot expect to achieve unrealistic results. Welcome a fair assessment of your case from your lawyer in the beginning, understand that things can change as the case progresses, and remember that what one individual judge will do can be impossible to predict. It is not uncommon for both parties to compromise a little (or a lot) in order to resolve their case.