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May 2010

How Attorneys Fees are Determined and Etiquette in Dealing with Attorneys

Keep in mind that attorneys sell only one thing: Time. Not legal advice or contracts. Their time. And to take it without paying for it is, quite simply, stealing. Most attorneys offer a short consultation with potential new clients to see if the subject matter and client fit their law practice. A few attorneys will even answer general legal questions. This should not be interpreted as an invitation to call more than once and ask additional questions. The second phone call should be to notify the attorney that you want to hire him (if you have not done so already) and arrange the details. Most attorneys set their fees based on careful calculations and expectations of a reasonable profit. If they regularly work for free, or at a loss, they won’t be around to help you very long. Be wary of attorneys who are overly flexible about negotiating fees. It may mean they are inexperienced and expect to learn as they represent you—which can be very costly when they make mistakes on your behalf.