It’s all about the Money… except… not.
Anyone who has ever had legal problems (or the need for legal advice to avoid problems) knows that lawyers are EXPENSIVE!? Well, wait… are they really? Are clients not actually getting value for their dollar? Let’s look into this more.
First of all, the lawyer is not the one who created the problem. They are trying to SOLVE IT for you. This generally involves not just taking the issue out of your hands in the short term and running interference for you now, but resolving the issue on a permanent basis. Lawyers do much more than just put a problem “out of sight, out of mind.” They are FIXERS, and on a permanent basis, too!
Yes, some lawyers are more expensive than others. But is it actually true that the more you pay the more you get? Is it really true that the higher-priced lawyers are the better lawyers? If I were to answer this question personally, the answer would be NO. A number of other groups have evaluated the question of how lawyers’ services are priced, and the reading would surprise most consumers.
Continue reading to find out the five reasons why my services are priced the way they are!
The Stress and Time-Suck Factor.
Honestly, how many people even want to be a big time, senior rainmaking partner at a large law firm? From a certain point of view, it’s a terrible job! You work insane hours (and you have worked insane hours for most of your adult life). Even if you are intellectually stimulated by the work, it’s not “fun.” It’s not playing centerfield for the Yankees or directing pornography. It’s not a barrel of laughs. And despite the fact that you are relatively rich and probably at or near the very top of your field, you have to spend all day talking to clients who disrespect you, make more money than you, and act like you’re the a$hole in the room who is stealing their money.
Who the hell wants to do that all of their life? Well, you have to pay people a LOT of money to make them want to do that.
Why are lawyers so expensive? Because it’s a crappy job that most people don’t want to do! Sanitation workers get paid more than teachers because most people would rather deal with trashy children than old trash.
And if you really don’t like the cost, you can always go find a cheaper lawyer.
Clients Expect to Pay More for Better Lawyers.
It Is Not Easy to Become a Lawyer.
It’s not too expensive to hire just any lawyer. But it can be expensive to hire a great, experienced lawyer, who will dedicate his/her personal attention to your case.
The Five Reasons I Charge What I Do.
- My fee structure can vary from flat-rate, to hourly with a retainer, to hourly without a retainer. I assess a case to determine how much legal research is involved, how much drafting is involved, and how much active negotiation with the opposing party is involved. These three things generally cost more because they demand the most time. If there is a lot of these three things involved in your case, then the time-suck factor comes into play and hourly with a retainer is likely to be the quoted rate.
- My fees go up when I go to Court. Going to Court to represent you involves making representations to the Judge, the Court staff, the other lawyers, the witnesses, and the jury, even. This is my credibility; this is my livelihood. I can do legal research in my PJ’s with the #officedogs, but I can’t leave my hair undone and no makeup to go to Court. I have to prepare legal arguments and analyze the facts of your case extensively to go to Court. I literally watch everything that I say and every gesture that I make when I’m at Court. I have to put on a persona and act the lawyer part. It’s high-stress, high-drama, and therefore demands high-pay.
- My fees are not those of a newbie lawyer. I’m experienced. I charge more (but not above average) because I have spent years becoming fluent in the areas of law in which I practice. I have taken continuing education courses like crazy to stay abreast of the issues as they evolve (marijuana law in Colorado much?). This is not easy to do, and in this case–you are paying more to get more. An experienced attorney can ask for a higher rate than a first year associate, and they should. I can pick up a criminal case with little to no extra research because I’ve handled them before, whereas a newer attorney will have to do tons of research to educate themselves just to get to the baseline where I start.
- My fees are lower than other “prestigious” lawyers. I am solo. I am #smalllaw. I have no overhead. I have no paralegal or secretarial staff, and I don’t charge for every mundane thing. I run a virtual law office meaning you have access to me nearly 100% of the time via email, phone and text (unless I’m in Court or meetings). And I run my firm nearly paperless. I can afford to be cheaper because I run a streamlined practice on a budget.
- Mostly, I charge what I do so that I can tell a client what this lawyer on Lawyerist.com tells his clients, “Okay, you don’t have to worry about this any more. Your problems are now my problems.” I will be there every step of the way. I will tell you what we should worry about and what we shouldn’t. I’ll keep to myself that your case is causing me to lose sleep because I don’t want to worry you. I manage the entire case for you. After going through legal issues, sometimes that is like managing your entire LIFE for you. And I’m happy to do it. I would literally walk 1,000 miles to fall down at your door… I am that dedicated to my clients. I went to law school to help people, after all.
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