A Lesson In Attorney’s Fees

Posted on Tuesday, March 21st, 2017 by Marc Beyer and is filed under Cost,  Lawyer,  Life,  Process.

As a lawyer, I don’t have any great products to sell you. My office is not like Best Buy or a car dealership. Other than a bunch of paper, you won’t walk away with something tangible to show for the amount of money you spent.

Rather, I sell you my time. I went to law school and I’ve been practicing law for 16+ years. During that time I have accumulated a body of knowledge and experience. When you hire me, this is what you are buying.

In many ways, then, I am like a doctor or a mechanic. We are all part of the service industry. A doctor is trained in medicine, a mechanic is trained in auto mechanics, and I am trained in the law. One big difference with me, though, is that my fees are more difficult to ascertain.

If you have health insurance, for example, most of your medical bills will be covered by insurance. Likewise, an auto mechanic can almost always give you an estimate of what it will cost to repair your car. But, at the beginning of a contested divorce case, it is extremely difficult for me to tell you what your fees will total at the end of the case.

That is because, simply put, I don’t know how much time your case will take. Not only in terms of how many weeks or months, but how much of my time might be spent during those weeks or months. Your case could settle tomorrow. It might settle several months from now after multiple rounds of mediation. It might not settle at all, and a trial might be required. This is why attorneys charge by the hour.

So, when people ask me how much will my divorce cost, I almost always respond with, “It depends. The more you and your spouse disagree about things, the more of my time will be spent on your case, the more expensive it will be. Conversely, the fewer disagreements you have with your spouse, the quicker your case will be resolved, the less amount of my time will be spent on your case, the cheaper it will be.”

Further, any time I spend on your case is less time that I have to spend on other matters. This is how I make my living. So, you get charged for my time whether I am writing letters to opposing counsel regarding who should pay the cell phone bill, or whether I am representing you in a trial. I am more than happy to write that letter for you, but don’t forget that you pay me for my time before you ask me to write it.

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If you are facing divorce and any of the divorce-related issues such as spousal maintenance, child support, child custody, property division, or domestic abuse matters, you need our experienced Minneapolis divorce attorneys to help you. Contact Beyer & Simonson in Edina, Minnesota today at (952) 303-6007.