If you think you're getting a better deal from a lawyer that charges less-think again. The hourly rate might be low, but the cost could still be high. On the other hand, if you find a lawyer with a higher hourly rate, the total cost to you could be lower. Let's review an example:
You go to attorney Adams. Attorney Adams charges $ 225 an hour, but has an outstanding reputation and you observed him in court. He is top-notch. You then go to attorney Baker. Baker charges $ 125 an hour – a $ 100 per hour difference! Do not be like the government and select the lowest bidder. The hourly price of attorney Adams is more than that of attorney Baker, but do not stop there.
The total cost of attorney Baker could be much higher than attorney Adams. How so? Attorney Adams is an expert in the area of your legal problem. He can settle a case or work out a deal with others. Because of his expertise, he can resolve your case in 10 hours, for a total cost of $ 2,250. Attorney Baker, on the other hand, does not have as much experience in your needed legal area. He can not resolve your case out of court, and now must take it to trial. As a result, you end up paying for 50 hours of work at attorney Baker's rate, totaling $ 6,250 (yikes, that's $ 4,000 more than Adams!), Not to mention other costs that most attorneys will charge you. Case costs can include letters, mileage, filing fees, expert fees, and the cost of depositions. These costs could add another few thousand dollars or more to what you end up paying attorney Baker to represent you. The true cost for attorney Baker is more than attorney Adams, not to mention your additional time, aggravation, and increased risk exposure.
The above example is not given to tell you to always hire the most expensive attorney. The example simply shows you that hiring the lawyer with the lowest hourly rate might not be the best option. Hire an attorney carefully. Be aware of the difference between an attorney's rate, and their cost.
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Disclaimer: Any application of the information contained herein is at the reader's own discretion and risk. This publication should not be construed as providing any legal advice. If you require legal advice, you should seek an attorney licensed to practice law in your area.