(5) Be Wary if the Attorney Is Unwilling to Give you a Ballpark Estimate
When attorneys are unwilling to give you a ballpark estimate or even a range of possible prices, it is usually because they have no idea what a case like yours typically costs. Certainly attorneys are afraid of quoting the price for a simple case and later finding out that your particular case is extremely complex and will take much more time. However, this should not stop an attorney from giving you a general idea of a range of what legal fees typically are. And, in true lawyer’s fashion, most lawyers will couch language sufficiently to make a non-binding statement (i.e. “generally, a typical divorce will cost anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000, but it could be more or less, depending on the facts, so you should come in and talk with me about your case.”). A lawyer who is unwilling to discuss a price range in general terms may not be giving you an estimate because he or she does not have enough experience handling your type of case to know what the fees will likely be.
Finally, a lawyer who is unwilling to discuss likely fees may have a fee that will be much higher than you expect, especially if the lawyer is charging on an hourly basis. Lawyers are used to their clients having sticker shock on the price of legal services, but if an unethical lawyer can get you signed up before you are aware of what the cost will likely be, then he or she may take advantage and end up charging you much more than you would have ever been willing to pay.