Everyone knows that a good lawyer is expensive. What most people don’t know is that a bad lawyer is even more expensive. During a divorce, the last thing you need to worry about is your divorce lawyer messing up your case or overbilling you for work that hasn’t even been done yet. Being involved in a divorce is hard enough, having to deal with an attorney that doesn’t return your calls or doesn’t file important pleadings on time can make the whole process even more stressful.
Before we look at the standard rates for a divorce attorney in the Winnemucca Nevada area, first let’s try to understand exactly what makes a divorce attorney a “good” or a “bad” one. Knowing that will really help you make a decision to hire the right one, when you get to that point, if you are not already.
What Makes a Divorce Lawyer a “Bad” One?
According to the American Bar Association, about 4% to 17% of lawyers will get sued for malpractice. This happens when an attorney messes up a case so bad that it causes significant harm to their clients. When a lawyer gets sued for malpractice, they risk losing their license to practice law, but that doesn’t mean that they WILL lose their license. So, every time you sit down with a divorce attorney for a consultation, there is a chance that attorney has been sued for malpractice before.
So, how exactly do you tell if the lawyer you are talking to is a good or a bad one? Well, there are ways you can spot the signs if you are aware of them. There are also signs that you are having a consultation with a good attorney, if you know how to spot them.
When you first sit down to talk with your prospective divorce lawyer, you will want to describe your situation in detail. You will most likely really want the lawyer to understand the particulars of your case, as well as your emotional state of mind so they will be able to give you some advice. Regardless of the situation, if you are going to pay a sizable retainer to an attorney, you will for sure want them to understand your issues.
If the attorney you are talking to doesn’t let you “vent” while you’re telling them about your divorce case, or is constantly interrupting you, beware. Part of having good communication skills is listening and understanding what the person you are communicating with is saying to you. Lawyers have consultations all the time. They could be having the same, or almost the same conversation with different people nearly every day. That could wear on their patience, but a good lawyer will not let that affect their communication, while a bad lawyer will.
If the divorce attorney hardly lets you speak during the initial consultation, then chances are if you hire that lawyer, the breakdown in communication will persist throughout the case. Lawyers should have a cap on their case load. This cap needs to represent the amount of time that attorney has, so that all of their clients’ cases can get the attention they deserve. If your lawyers case load is overwhelming, the standard procedure would be to hire an associate to help them.
Another good way to spot a “bad lawyer” during the initial consultation is if they focus more on a sales pitch, and less on the details of your case. If the primary topic of conversation during the consultation is money, and not the details of your divorce, then chances are you’re talking to a divorce lawyer that is only concerned with getting paid, and not with helping clients in their times of need.
How to Spot a “Good Lawyer” During the Consultation
At first, it may be difficult to spot any telltale signs that the lawyer you are talking to is going to be a good one. The best way to find a good lawyer, is by asking your friends and family for referrals. If they have had a good experience with an attorney, chances are you will have the same experience. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find good service, in any field or industry.
One of the best tell tale signs that the lawyer you are talking to is a good one is if they listen well to you describing your case. They will ask you questions about your situation and about your family. Then, after you have described your situation in detail, they will give you very sound legal advice that will help you in your situation.
A good lawyer will even advise you on whether or not you even need an attorney, even if that means taking money out of their own pocket. In order for a lawyer to be ethical, they must always put their clients’ best interests first.
How Much Can You Expect to Pay a Good Divorce Attorney?
There are two main ways that a divorce attorney will bill their clients. The first way is a flat fee billing scale. This means that the lawyer will get a good understanding on how much work the case will take, and will ask for a total dollar amount, that is normally paid-up front, or on a payment schedule that will be detailed in the contract.
The second common way that an attorney will bill their clients is by an hourly rate. This is when the lawyer will “clock in,” and charge you a certain amount of money per hour for their work. Every phone call, email, letter, meeting, and court appearance will be billed by that hourly rate. Some lawyers will charge different fee for the different types of work that they will be doing. For example, conducting legal research may be a lesser hourly rate than a court appearance.
As far as a flat fee is concerned, it is a general Nevada average that a contested divorce will cost you right around $6,000. However, that is a very fluid price tag and will fluctuate depending on how much work that the divorce will take. If the whole process begins fine, and then all of a sudden, your lawyer must appear in court three times to settle an argument over who gets the washer and dryer, you can expect that flat fee to be much higher in the end. On the other hand, if you hire your lawyer who only has to file a few pleadings and appear in court only once before a settlement is reached, then you can expect that fee to be much lower in the end. Its situations like these that makes a flat fee structure a bit confusing, and why some divorce attorneys prefer an hourly rate.
In regard to how much you can expect to pay as an hourly rate, it completely depends on the lawyer’s experience. If you hire a law firm, like Justice Law Center, there will be lawyers with less experience charging much less per hour than the partners of the firm, who have been practicing law for decades. You can generally expect an attorney fresh out of law school to charge around $200 per hour, while an experienced litigator with 20+ years’ experience with a rate up to $400 per hour.
Find Your Divorce Lawyer at Justice Law Center
One of the things that we pride ourselves in here at Justice Law Center, is that we genuinely care about each and every one of our clients. Sad to say there are some Nevada law firms out there that only care about making money, and not helping people. We do everything in our power to be empathetic to the needs of our clients here, and that even means working with them on our fees so that they can afford the best representation In Nevada.
We never charge a consultation fee for the first meeting. This way we can be sure that we take the time to understand our clients’ situations before any money changes hands. Call us today and let Justice Law Center be your Nevada Divorce Lawyer.