While it's tempting to go with a divorce lawyer who can get it done as quick and as inexpensive as possible, it’s important to understand the associated risks so that you can be smart with how you spend your legal dollars.
Searching online for a cheap divorce lawyer yields hundreds of results, which is not surprising. Those who have come to the likely difficult decision to divorce do not want to spend their savings dissolving the marriage. Below I break down how hiring an experienced attorney with a higher hourly rate can save you time in money in the long run.
More Experience. An attorney’s hourly rate is often commensurate with the level of experience and skill that he or she can bring to a case. This means the cheap divorce attorney may only be able to provide basic legal advice which could cause you to miss angles and actions that could help your case. While the hourly rate for a more experienced attorney might be higher, top divorce attorneys have the expertise to reach better financial terms for you in the separation.
More attentive to your needs. Cheap attorneys often need to take on more clients to reach their revenue goals. Too many cases at once can lead to disorganization and inability to analyze the pros and cons of decisions as they relate to your case. This also means the cheap attorney won’t be able to provide you with the attention you deserve, as they will be busily balancing communications with other clients. A top lawyer has handled many divorce cases before. They will be able to anticipate actions you should take and quickly provide the right advice. The result: more effective attorney-client communication leading to less communication overall, and less hours you are billed.
Less clients means more focus. In contrast, some attorneys may be cheap because they’re desperately trying to attract clients. If no one else is willing to work with an attorney, you probably don’t want to work with them either - especially in divorce matters. Divorce is personal and emotional. It’s important that you can be open, truthful and trusting of your divorce attorney. The ability to work well together and tell your attorney personal information may increase your ability to build a strong case and achieve a better outcome. This is one situation where trust is surely worth the price.
Paralegals and associate attorney aid. Typically, there is a team of professionals behind an experienced attorney. An top attorney will often help clients spend their money strategically by assigning portions of the case work to an associate with a lower hourly rate. This gives the client the benefit of the lower hourly rate with the guidance and oversight of the experienced attorney.
Achieve the best results. Perhaps most importantly, the best attorneys usually get the best results. The best lawyer is likely going to have a higher hourly rate but you shouldn’t automatically disregard that “higher priced” attorney. Paying a higher cost on an hourly basis could actually save you a lot of money over time. Experienced attorneys are likely to be more efficient, and therefore can achieve success on your case while spending less time on it. Thus the client is only paying a fraction of the hourly rate when compared to the expense they may incur getting the cheaper attorney more up to speed.
A cheap divorce lawyer isn’t always the best or most cost-effective solution. When you add up the sum of what you received in terms of experience, attention, communication, efficiency and results, the small number becomes a big negative that can quickly impact the outcome of the divorce terms and proceedings.