The hazards of hiring a budget attorney are the topic of this article.  This article will describe in detail the hazards of hiring a budget attorney and the negative consequences that can have on your chances for a favorable outcome when you are involved in litigation.

  • Competent attorneys often wind up costing less in the long run as “budget” attorneys often provide a “lowball” retainer quote that does not take into consideration the unique facts for that particular case

While an attorney that quotes you a temptingly low retainer quote may seem attractive if you are concerned about your finances you need to remember that in many cases hiring a competent attorney will wind up costing you less in the long run.  Every case has unique facts that have to be taken into consideration. Remember that an attorney with more competence will generally take much less time as a direct result of their skill level.  And the less time that the attorney spends on your case the less money you will ultimately have to spend.  A competent attorney may cost you more up front but that can save you money in the long run.

And a lower retainer will obviously be used up rather quickly in the event that your litigation is protracted and once your retainer is used up most attorneys will request that you pay more money in order for them to continue to work on your case.

  • Competent attorneys usually take much less time on a case than “budget” attorneys who often make errors that could have been easily avoided by a competent attorney

Hiring a budget attorney that quotes a lowball retainer may cost you more in the long run than if you had hired a more competent attorney. Even though the more competent attorney may require a higher retainer they often take much less time on a case than lower priced attorneys who tend to have less skill than competent attorneys.

A lower initial cost seems tempting but there is usually a reason why some attorneys will quote a lower initial retainer and that reason may be that they are desperate for business, or just want to “suck you in” with the teaser being the lowball retainer and hope to make up the difference by aggressively billing the case.

  • Competent attorneys can afford to be more choosy about which clients they wish to represent while “budget” attorneys are more likely to accept any client that can both fog a mirror and pay their “lowball” retainer

A competent attorney can afford to be more selective about which clients they wish to represent.  Budget attorneys on the other hand are more likely to accept most if not all potential clients that will pay their lowball retainer.  A competent attorney will be much more likely to be straightforward with you regarding your case, its strengths as well as its weaknesses.

  • Another drawback of hiring a “budget” attorney is that a surprising number are not only incompetent but also unethical

Another disadvantage of hiring a budget attorney is not only that a surprising number are incompetent, it is that some are unethical. I do not wish to disparage the legal profession as I consider it an honor to be an attorney. I believe that the majority of attorneys are both competent and honest. However I need to point out not all attorneys are competent or ethical.  Not all budget attorneys are necessarily incompetent or unethical but I do know from my years of experience in litigation that an attorney that quotes you a lowball retainer has a tendency to lack either competence or ethical standards.

  • Attorneys that offer “lowball” retainers often abandon their clients once another case that looks more lucrative comes along or the case starts getting complicated

I have also noticed that some budget attorneys will often abandon their clients if the case either starts getting more complicated than they had anticipated or they are presented with another case that appears to be more lucrative for them.  Some may feel that they have nothing to lose.

  • I am aware of cases where individuals have been represented by several “budget” attorneys and they wound up in such a bad situation that they lacked any additional funds to retain a competent attorney

There are also numerous situations that I am aware of where individuals have been represented by several budget attorneys that quoted lowball retainers where their case not only becomes a mess but their finances are so depleted that they lack the required funds in order to retain a more competent attorney.

  • I am also aware of cases where individuals have initially retained a “budget” attorney or attorneys who handled their case so badly that they were unable to convince any competent attorney to represent them

Other situations that commonly occur are cases where an individual has had a budget attorney or attorneys who mishandled their case to such an extent that they were unable to convince any competent attorney to represent them.  As I mentioned earlier competent attorneys can afford to be more selective about taking on cases and are reluctant to take on cases such as I have just described, and even if they do they usually quote a higher retainer than usual to make up for the fact that the case is so problematic.

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Thank you for reading. I hope I could have been educational as I endeavor to provide my knowledge as a free public service. Please note that all the materials and information on this web site are general analyses made available for the public’s general informational purposes only. These analyses are not in any way intended to serve as specific legal advice to be applied in your particular situation. Although I am an attorney, absent a signed retention and engagement letter, I am not your attorney. There are no exceptions to this rule. Moreover, you shall not rely on the information I am providing you, as it is only for your general knowledge and educational purposes, since this information would likely change based on any additional facts. Thus the transmission and receipt of information on this web site by anyone does not form or constitute an attorney-client relationship. My knowledge of laws is limited to California. Anyone receiving any information on this web site should not act upon the information provided without first obtaining the services of professional legal counsel licensed in their respective jurisdiction. Best of luck.

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