In Michigan the Supreme Court has changed court rules to allow an attorney to unbundle legal services when representing a client.To explain further a brief history of attorney fees is necessary and interesting.
Before the change the rules of ethics required a lawyer to continue representing a client in a court case until the judge allowed the attorney to withdraw. Because withdrawing required a motion to withdraw when the client does not pay the lawyer, law firms typically required an advance payment of a retainer.
For example in a divorce or custody case lawyers and firms required a payment of $3000.00 to $5000.00 to cover fees so the lawyer could ensure payment. Often times judges would not allow an attorney to withdraw for nonpayment if the attorney did not protect themselves by requiring a retainer. Over time retainers became greater and greater. Lawyers became more and more expensive.
Under the new rule a lawyer can engage a client for various steps in the case. Lawyers still require retainers. But it is possible to start a divorce case or other litigation matter for substantially less. After the beginning of the case the client can decide whether or not to continue with the lawyer representing them and "pay as you go" is now an option. If the client does not want to continue to pay the attorney the attorney can file a notice and withdraw from the case.
Attorney fees are really simple to understand if explained properly. Unfortunately clients are not well-explained about fees. Often times attorney fees are a mystery to the client.
At Williams Law Offices we do explain fees and it is very important to us that you understand the fees and when you can expect a bill. In that way you can prepare. We make sure all clients are informed.
Our next blog post will explain our fees for divorce and family law cases.