Is your attorney looking out for you or his/her wallet?
A client just came into my office a domestic violence matter involving her boyfriend. She explained how she got divorced last year so I assumed she didn’t have an attorney since she was in my office. However, she did have an attorney that handles a fair number of divorce cases in Monmouth County. So, I had to ask, why can’t he help you? The answer: “because he ripped me off and he’s a scumbag”. Not the first time I’ve heard that about him. She explained that she had a very simple case with everything worked out. However, this attorney somehow charged her $8000 for a 3 month divorce case! My guess is that I could have handled the case for under $2000. Regardless, she clearly knows that she was ripped off and unfortunately, her story is not rare.
What this attorney does not realize is that while he might have made some nice money, he will never make a dime off of this client. Not only that, but she will clearly bad mouth him to everyone she knows. I try to create clients for life even it costs me money. I believe that my job is to get the best result for my client even if it does not put money in my pocket.
For example, I have been representing a client with a number of related issues. I was going to represent her in the divorce but we would have had to wait months if not over a year for her to have even the proper retainer put together because her husband was going to cause World War 3. No matter who handled the case, it was going to be expensive. This just couldn’t wait. Thus, I found an attorney that is affiliated with an organization that can help her. As a result, the divorce case will cost her next to nothing and she will be able to get divorced much quicker. I lost out on a lot of money but my client is in a better position. In my opinion, that is my real job: to help my clients. Quite often, it puts money in my pocket. However, sometimes it doesn’t. Either way, I love my career and I feel great knowing that I made a difference in someone’s life.
Am I the only attorney that feels like this? Obviously no, but when looking for an attorney, I suggest you try to determine what your attorney is concerned with, you or his/her wallet?