How can I keep my legal expenses down?

Many people wonder why attorney’s fees are so high. Please keep in mind that in addition to their own compensation, attorneys have many overhead expenses, including rent, management software, malpractice insurance, continuing legal education, bar association dues, and employee salaries. Attorney’s fees take all of those expenses into account. Keeping this in mind, there are many strategies that one can employ to keep their legal expenses down.

First and foremost, it is important to be organized. Family law cases, like all legal cases, are centered on evidence. If your case is centered on financial issues, ensure that you have all documents concise and in order. Make a list of all of your accounts and take steps to obtain documentation. If your case is centered on child related issues, ensure that you have documented evidence supporting your claims and a concise list of witnesses available to support your claims. If you drop off numerous boxes of unorganized files, you will be paying your attorney to sort through them. If you do not provide all of your financial accounts, your attorney will eventually discover the other accounts and request them. Again, be up front and organized to avoid thousands of dollars of unnecessary attorneys fees.

Do not exclusively rely on your attorney for emotional support. Divorce and custody battles are hard and emotionally tolling. You need an experienced, objective counselor to help you work through your emotions. If you contact your attorney every time you become upset, you will quickly accumulate attorney’s fees. As attorneys, we are familiar with the law and the legal options available to you. Those options are sometimes upsetting and unfair. You need someone with whom to talk through issues. We are happy to talk to you and are very sympathetic to our clients, however, it is often not the most cost effective option to use us as a therapist. It is a good idea to write down legal questions and send your attorney one email regarding all of the questions you have at once, instead of emailing each time something crosses your mind. It is sometimes helpful to develop questions with your therapist. We are happy to include your therapist in email correspondence so that they can discuss the emotional implications of options with you.

Your attorney will communicate with you regularly about your case as things develop. It is not necessary to check in for updates on a daily or weekly basis. On the other hand, if your attorney requests information from you or requests that you sign documents, you should respond. Otherwise the attorney and/or office staff will have to reach out to you numerous times which will increase the cost to you.

Your attorney will send you regular, itemized invoices. If you are dismayed by the number on the invoice, it is often helpful to reach out to your attorney to ask if there is any way you can reduce your costs.

About Abigail Green

Abigail Green is an attorney based in Louisville, KY. She is a founding partner of Kellner Green, PLLC and practices primarily in the areas of family and divorce law.