Many of you remember the “Dream Team” that represented O.J. during his trial. While opinions may differ about why O.J. was acquitted, I believe O.J. won because of the quantity of the representation, not the quality. Basically, for two years nine lawyers and their staff focused only on O.J.’s case.
After 25 years, I still have not had a client walk into my office with a blank check and tell me that money was no object and that they should be my only client. Most people have a finite amount of money to spend on their legal matter and are looking for the most “bang for their buck.” Here are some ways to help you do that.
- Be honest – no matter how bad it is. My job is to advocate, not judge. There is nothing that you can tell me that I cannot process and hopefully address for you. In matrimonial and family law cases you are generally litigating against the person who knows you best. Usually any lies told to your lawyer will catch up to you. At that point, not only am I not at the starting gate, but I now have to catch up and restart.
- Be realistic. Seriously consider reasonable solutions outlined by your lawyer. If you decide to take another stance, be prepared to spend lot of money to get nowhere. Recently, I had a case where my client’s husband spent $10,000 more in legal fees than she did to fight over property worth $3,000. Had he just given her $3,000 up front, he would be $7,000 ahead!
- Communicate effectively. Ask your attorney the best way to communicate with her. Just because there are many ways to communicate does not mean you should use all of them. A telephone call during business hours is the best way to reach me or to find out if I am available. If you text, call my cell phone, send an email, and then call my office, I have received the same communication 4 ways!
- Ask what you can do. There may be tasks that you can do that will save your attorney and her staff time. For example, if your attorney needs financial records gather them yourself and ask how many copies are needed. It is probably less expensive and more time efficient for you to do this rather than your lawyer and/or her staff.
- Listen to your lawyer. All too often a client tells me what his/ her spouse said, or what advice his/her lawyer allegedly gave, and then questions who is giving the “right” advice. It is likely that what is being told to you is what the other person wants you to think, and not what s/he was told.
- Get proper counseling. Emotions run high in divorce and family court cases. Your attorney is a “counselor of law,” not a counselor. Many issues presented to me are better directed to a friend or mental health counselor.
Following these suggestions will help you utilize your attorney’s time in the best manner possible, which will save you money in the long run.