Choosing the Right Lawyer – Do Not Become a “Cash Cow”

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Choosing the Right Lawyer – Do Not Become a “Cash Cow”

Category : Law

Last year, Donald Trump has sued his former attorneys for legal malpractice, and claims that the firm performed unnecessary work to generate higher fees. In particular, Mr. Trump maintains that the firm should have advised against pursuing the one of the claims in the underlying contract case because it was foreseeable the legal costs incurred would far outstrip any recovery.

While Mr. Trump’s downplaying of his attorneys’ role in securing the successful result (”We won the case because I’m a great witness,” he said) should certainly be taken with a large grain of salt, this case does bring to light a serious issue that small businesses should strongly consider when choosing and working with their attorneys – streamlining the litigation process to maximize results at a reasonable cost. Practically, that means having frank discussions about the viability and likelihood of success of the potential claims, and weeding out those claims that are unlikely to warrant the time and expense necessary to pursue them.

Indeed, a number of years ago I defended a doctor in an action to collect legal fees arising out of a trusts and estate matter. He contended that this large law firm billed him with reckless abandon, and never took the time to assess whether it was worthwhile to pursue certain claims. For example, he correctly pointed out that this firm billed him roughly $5,000 to collect scuba equipment whose total value was maybe $2,500.

Bottom line: When selecting a family lawyer Melbourne, make sure the lawyer sets out clearly – at the outset – what your anticipated outcome is, and the costs that are likely to accrue in getting there. It is also a good idea to periodically revisit this conversation with your lawyer throughout the course of the case, as different facts and circumstances may arise that alter this initial picture. While this does not guarantee the results that you may want, it will certainly help prevent your getting an unexpected result – or legal bill.


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