In Consulting, Family Law, Helpful Articles

How Attorneys Usually Work

Traditionally, a client retains an attorney, who then prepares all documents, goes to hearings, deals with opposing counsel, negotiates and otherwise handles all aspects of the divorce.  In theory, it’s the easiest option, but given the requirements for divorce in Colorado, it quickly becomes unaffordable in all but the most amicable divorces.  Why?  Because parties are required to do three hearings, a mediation and retained counsel must do certain paperwork for the court.  That all goes on the bill.  Additionally, if parties reach an agreement much later in the process, there’s been a great deal of back and forth between counsel.  The client gets billed for each phone call, email, hearing, and court document.  In my experience, that means an attorney like me is wincing at the end of the month when they look at the expense involved since most clients feel the impact and even if they’re wealthy, prefer to spend their money in other ways.  Often, the client often needs to put more money in retainer which is rough for the clients who hoped that the large amount they put in retainer initially, would get them through the divorce (or legal separation or Allocation of Parental Decision-making).  Sure, happens for some clients and on occasion, I’ve even been able to return retainer money, but only for very amicable divorces.  All too often the expense is beyond what most clients can afford.

How Legal Consulting Works

I started doing legal consulting after watching an unrepresented party have a horrendous hearing and leave the courtroom looking shocked and doubtless thinking the system wasn’t fair.  Actually, it was pretty clear they didn’t understand what the hearing was about, how to prepare and what the Judge could or could not consider. It might have felt like the judge didn’t like them when really, the Judge was just very annoyed to have someone testifying and offering evidence on things that had nothing to do with the hearing and couldn’t be considered.  So, they lost, and my view was that if they had spoken with an attorney for just a short time, they’d have done much better.  So, I began offering free consults followed by advice, and soon after began drafting documents and at times, attending mediation or a hearing.  I can do all of that as a consulting attorney as long as my fee agreement spells out what I can do, and I advise the court as to my role as a consulting attorney.  That means I can do precisely what my client asks, and can afford; which may be occasional assistance or for a complex case, I may be jumping in for the big hearings and advising throughout the case.  It’s my view after practicing for more than 28 years that in some cases, a client will prefer to retain me, but many other people would rather not expend money on me that they need for their lives post-divorce.  I should also add that the more amicable the divorce, the less expensive and destructive; I specialize in advising on how to make that happen.

Free Consult and Review of your Case

If you need legal help, email me at jkreutzerlaw@gmail.com for a free consult and we can review what might work best for you.  The first half hour is free to answer your questions and review how I work, if you want time beyond that I bill my hourly rate and at times, do sliding scale or pro bono.  Given the volume of consults, I can only do a limited amount of pro bono.

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