The question that most people want to ask me is how much is this going to cost? That’s usually the first thing that people ask, is how much is this going to cost? What is your hourly rate, and what is your retainer fee? My hourly rate right now is $285 an hour. That’s, of course, subject to change. My paralegals raise $155 an hour, and administrative and support staff time is $50 an hour. Our average retainer is between 3 and $5,000. That’s first thing, obviously, is what are you going to charge me?
Other factors that you want to consider are the degree of experience. How long has the prospective attorney been doing family law cases? What is their degree of experience? How comfortable are they with family law cases? I’ve been handling family law and child custody cases for a long period of time. I’m comfortable in handling them. I’m comfortable in going to court. I’m familiar with the judicial staff in the counties surrounding my office. I know what to expect. I can tell you what to expect. The degree of experience is the other thing that people really ask me, and that’s something that you should consider in hiring a family law attorney.
You also want to know whether or not that individual has any support staff. Do they have a paralegal or office staff that is helping them? What happens if that attorney gets sick or something happens? Family emergency. If they’re a solo practitioner and don’t have a paralegal or anyone else to help them, are you going to be able to get ahold of them when you really need that? I have a wonderful paralegal who’s been with me since I acquired Lewis & Matthews. She has 25 years experience. She’s terrific, and she is there and available to answer your questions if I’m in court or otherwise not available.
Other factors to consider are the attorney’s approach to these types of cases. In other words, is the approach one that we’re going to get this resolved, we’re going to try to reach a mediated or collaborative approach to this situation? Or is the approach we’re just going to go to court and litigate it? You have to consider that as well. Maybe you have a high conflict situation that you don’t think is going to be resolved by mediation and you want a bulldog. I’m comfortable going to court and litigating cases. However, that gets to be expensive, so I always encourage you to think about the possibility of a mediated resolution. Spend time, pay the money to come in and see me and talk to me about your situation. There’s no further obligations to my firm after the end of the consultation, and you can decide whether or not I’m the best fit for you in your particular situation. Contact us today for more information.