"YOU PAY FOR WHAT YOU GET":
You may not have heard it stated quite like that, but it's very true. Having been a Public Interest Attorney for the State Government, an Associate at a Boutique Law Firm, Of Counsel to various sized Law Firms, and a Solo Practitioner... I would say that Patricia A. Ames, Esq. is in a fairly good position to comment on the differences.
A fair word of warning: Do not be fooled by opulence when it's time to hire an Attorney for a very important life event.
In fact, you might be surprised to learn that many "fancy" law firms are actually cash-poor.
Instead of the glitz and glamour, you may want to ensure that you have an Attorney who will: Be attentive, Answer or return your phone calls and emails, Promptly start work on your matter, Is knowledgeable and demonstrates that knowledge during an initial consultation, and Will not break the bank even before accomplishing any of the objectives. A few things you may want to consider:
Does every person working at the law firm serve an essential function? Or do some have important titles, without major responsibilities?
Many solo practices and small law firms will have a secretary, and maybe a paralegal to assist the attorney(s) - all of whom serve an essential function.
"Fancy" Law Firms may have staff with only "supervisory" duties - which do not add to the bottom line. Not only that, these figureheads are often paid a high salary with your legal fees to perform superfluous duties.
Whatever your preference, just bear in mind that your legal fees help to pay the salary of everyone in the firm. So, expect that to be built into your hourly rate, and expect to be billed accordingly.
This is the most fun category. There are many anecdotes to share of people bragging about their high-priced Attorney.
One such anecdote involved a woman who bragged about getting a high-priced Attorney, whom she could not afford to pay. In the end, the high-priced Attorney filed a motion to be released from the case, which he argued on the day of trial, because his full retainer had not been paid. The Judge denied it.
Meanwhile, the Solo Attorney, was able to make a deal with her client for a flat fee rate for the trial, because she knew the client was unable to afford the full hourly rate. On one side, was a disgruntled high-priced Attorney who tried to get out of the case just minutes before.
On the other side, was the Solo Attorney, who was happy with the deal she made with her client.
The moral of the story: High-priced Attorneys are beholden to their high-priced image. Solo Attorneys, in general, tend to have a lot more flexibility.
Law Firms rely on branding like any other business. However, be certain that the quality of representation that you personally receive lives up to the brand.
It is commonly known that most people walk into a multi-Attorney Law Firm, but are not assigned to the Attorney with his or her name on the door. That's fine so long as the Attorney that you are assigned, can do the job well. You should also understand that while you were paying for the name of a particular Attorney, you may never receive the benefit of that particular Attorney working on your matter.
Chances are, however, that when you go to a Solo Law Practice, you will be assigned to the Attorney who was brave enough, and smart enough, to step out on his or her own. Furthermore, that Attorney will more than likely have a hand in everything that goes out the door. Why? Because his or her livelihood depends on it.
AMES LAW GROUP prides itself on promptly beginning work on a client's matter, and producing a quality, well-written draft of initial pleadings within a short time frame. Ongoing and sustained contact with the client is also of paramount importance. At AMES LAW GROUP, the emphasis is not placed on opulence, but on the quality of your legal representation.
Contact AMES LAW GROUP for a private consultation by email at email@example.com, or call our offices at 888-200-1270.
Written by: Patricia A. Ames, Esq.