Can I Afford to Hire an Attorney?
One of the first things that a person will consider after they’ve been charged with a crime is whether they want a private attorney to represent them in their case. I’m pretty sure that everyone starts with the idea of hiring their own attorney, but as time goes on a lot of them decide that they don’t want to even call an attorney because they’re under the mistaken belief that since they can’t afford an attorney, they aren’t even going to bother with speaking to one. This is single-handedly the WORST decision that you can make about your defense. A better way of phrasing this question isn’t “can I afford to hire an attorney?”, but instead “can I afford to NOT hire an attorney?”
When people ask us about why legal services cost what they do, I’m always quick to point out that they shouldn’t look at retaining an attorney as an expense, but rather as an investment. More specifically, retaining an attorney is an investment in your freedom.
Unlike books, movies, or other physical products, there’s no “manufacturer’s suggested retail price” on legal services. Every attorney charges differently based primarily on their experience level. It’s why you can see such a wide variance in the costs of representation if you’re “shopping around.”
The experience that an attorney brings to your case represents a significant value to you as a client. The more experienced an attorney is, the more likely he is to be able to answer your questions quickly, correctly, and in a way that reduces your stress levels. Think of it like going to a doctor because you’re having chest pains: if you go to your family doctor, he can have a series of diagnostic tests run in an effort to learn what’s causing your pain, and thru a little bit of trial and error he can usually find out what’s wrong. Conversely, if you consult with a cardiac surgeon, that doctor will be able to diagnose your problem much more quickly, and heal you with a lot less stress. It’s the same with attorneys: a general practice attorney, or one that’s younger in their practice, can eventually get you a result that you’re happy with. But going to an attorney that practices JUST criminal law, and has been doing it for years, can give you the benefit of his knowledge and experience in answering your questions and putting your mind at ease.
Now, the reality of the matter is that much like a cardiologist is going to have a higher bill than a general practice physician, a more experienced attorney will charge more than a less experienced attorney. I realize that price is always a factor in the decision of which attorney to invest in, but it should absolutely NOT be the only thing that you consider. There’s an old saying in the world that you get what you pay for, and that’s absolutely true with attorneys. I don’t want to say that attorneys who charge less than their peers are “bad”, because many of them ARE competent and know what they’re doing. The problem you run into is that the attorneys who are trying to convince you to hire them because they charge less than their competition are also trying to convince EVERYONE who comes thru their door to hire them for that exact same reason. This gives those attorneys a business that appears to be thriving, but it really means that your attorney would be overworked and unable to give your case the proper attention that it deserves. I’ve heard horror stories about clients who were left to deal with the Court by themselves after they hired an attorney and thought that their attorney would be in court with them, but because that attorney was so overworked and had so many cases they ended up forgetting their client’s court date. You absolutely do NOT want that to happen to you.
Remember that when your freedom is on the line, the worst thing that you can do is refuse to meet with an attorney because you don’t think that you can afford their services. A good attorney will speak with you for free about your case, and a great attorney will meet with you in person to make sure that all of your questions are answered. We meet personally with every person who has a criminal case and wants our help, and while we may not be able to help every single person that speaks with us, we always make sure that they leave our office knowing the answers to the questions that they have so that they can make the best decision for themselves and their families. We’ll even work with you to come up with a payment plan that works for you, because we know it’s important to have a good, strong attorney in your corner when dealing with the criminal justice system.
At Razumich & Associates, our goal is to make sure that each of our clients receives the personalized attention that their cases deserve so that they can make the best possible decisions on important matters affecting their future. We personally meet with everyone who sets an appointment with our office, and we will take as long as necessary to make sure that every question you have is answered as completely as possible. That’s our promise to you: we’re Lawyers Ready to Fight, and we look forward to fighting for you.