Clients who allow their attorneys to focus on “big picture” issues can hold down their fees

Posted Friday, June 23rd, 2023 by Gregory Forman
Filed under Attorney-Client Relations, Not South Carolina Specific, Of Interest to Family Court Litigants

I like to think of myself as a “big picture” attorney, focusing on long- term solutions to my clients’ issues rather than addressing minor, one-time disputes.  The longer I practice the less patience I have addressing picayune issues.  Focusing on how spouses might “equitably divide” their marital home is worthy of my time and attention; focusing on how they might ”equitably divide” their flat screen television is a waste of their retainer and my time (my advice: if folks can’t agree on dividing or selling household goods they should burn them).  Advocating for a bi-weekly visitation schedule that works for my client is a task worthy of my abilities and efforts.  Advocating for where the visitation exchange takes place this Friday is something I hope my clients can work out with their co-parents without my involvement.

Clients who allow me to focus on big picture items have significantly lower fees.  Not only is addressing myriad small disputes wearying, it is costly.  A custody solution might take weeks or months to evolve organically as the parties determine what schedule works well for them and the child.  A solution to who’s getting the child this Friday needs to be resolved promptly, which means I am ping-ponging my attention from my client to the opposing party/attorney and back again.  Constantly dealing with issues the client perceives as urgent is exhausting and time consuming.  I know my colleagues feel similarly.

One does not want to be the client who the attorney dreads hearing from.  A family law client who allows the attorney to focus on big issues while trying to resolve small issues directly not only saves a lot of money but also avoids burning out the attorney. 

One thought on Clients who allow their attorneys to focus on “big picture” issues can hold down their fees

  1. Bobby Bernstein says:

    While I completely agree with this analysis, the success of this approach depends to a great deal upon both parties agreeing to focus their efforts on big issues. If one party is constantly bringing up issues, the other has no alternative but to deal with them

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