Costs are always a consideration, as they should be. Costs of legal services often drive the choice of lawyers hired. Therefore it is important for both lawyer and prospective clients to understand what legal services cost and what benefits can be expected from one lawyer as compared to another — a cost benefit analysis.
I am often asked by prospective clients what I charge for an hour of my time. I think that is the wrong question to ask in a cost benefit analysis, at least unless there is a basis to judge the efficiency of how the hours and parts of hours are likely to be spent. An hourly rate for a lawyer usually has more to do with the cost incurred by the lawyer of rendering service, than it has to do with the value received by the client for the services of the lawyer.
An initial meeting between lawyer and potential client is important. They each need to get a feel for the other. Can they trust each other? What is the real goal of the client? Will one or the other of the parties get carried away in the process of dealing with any given situation? Does the client, and the other party, want a just result or revenge? Does the lawyer have the experience to deal with the other lawyer? Are the resources of either party facing any difference or dispute, balanced? If not, can the client afford to deal with the situation?
Experience is important, but only if it is good experience. I have been called a Super Lawyer by a New Jersey Magazine. I have been the Chairman of the New Jersey State Bar Association Real Property, Probate, and Trust Law Section, elected to that position by my peers. I have been honored by the State Bar Association by being awarded the prestigious Arthur Horn Distinguished Service Award that is awarded in acknowledgement of significant longstanding contributions to the development of Real Property Law in New Jersey.
I bring these credentials, and experience, to every transaction I engage in on behalf of my clients. In selecting a lawyer, and judging the costs of his or her services, you should know the background, experience, and credentials of the lawyer, and should feel comfortable with him or her, and with the staff in the office of the lawyer.
We are happy to talk about what needs to be accomplished and what likely costs can be.