Attorneys are expensive. Get your money’s worth!

Hiring an attorney is about more than knowledge and experience. There are a lot of lawyers to choose from in the marketplace today. Truth is there are probably too many lawyers. While your lawyer’s experience and knowledge are important, other qualities should also be considered. Most lawyers have the basic level of knowledge to get the job done. We all have to pass an exam simply to have the right to do the job.

Hiring an attorney is much like hiring a contractor to build your new house. It is unlikely that you would hire a contractor before reviewing a set of blueprints, discussing a budget and developing a timeline for completion of your new home. Your attorney should sit down with you and develop a plan. The first step in developing a plan is a discussion of your goal or desired result. Second, the attorney should discuss with you the strengths and weaknesses of your case. If your attorney tells you, your case doesn’t have any weaknesses, that you don’t have anything to worry about, or that he never loses, you need to grab your wallet and run out of his office. Every case has both strengths and weakness.

Next, your attorney should discuss a budget or an estimate of the total cost of representation. An attorney will ask you to pay a retainer for his or her services. This is typically only a down payment and not the total costs of services. Early on you and your attorney need to discuss both best and worst case scenarios for the total cost of your case. An attorney’s services are billed by the hour. That means you can be in the hole for thousands of dollars before you even know it.

Finally, your attorney should be solution oriented. When you build a house, you may have to forgo the sun porch or upgraded counter-top because its too expensive. With litigation, a win at all cost may not be the best solution for you. There may be alternative ways of resolving a dispute. Your attorney should be open to and discuss alternatives. Your goal should be a solution to your problem, not just winning on principle.