Friday, March 2, 2007

About those attorney fees

This post from the Family Law Prof Blog may have some interest for those of you interested in what a divorce may cost. Mind you, this Missouri case went up on appeal and there seems to have been a rather unusual issue (which was why it went up on appeal).

Each party incurred about $3000 in attorneys fees for the dissolution action. For the appeal, Wife was awarded $6000 attorneys fees for her representation on appeal; Husband paid $18,000 for his representation on appeal.
I do not think that the trial court fees are very unusual for a divorce with a lot of litigation. At my hourly rate of $150.00 that would be about 20 hours of work. Considering that the matter went up on appeal, I am going to assume that there was a lot of litigation and fighting before the parties got to their settlement agreement. Not having a clue about Missouri appellate procedure but neither fee amount really strikes me as outrageously high or low. I write that assuming husband filed the appeal.

I know of only two ways of holding down the costs of a case. First, that the parties be agreeable. As most often divorces are not harmonious affairs, the savings must come from counsel. Lawyers cannot cut corners on how the services they provide, so it must be in how we provide that service. I can see $18,000.00 in appellate fees coming from an hourly practice which has not automated its research and/or document preparation. Putting it simply, if an attorney lacking the proper technology will cost more. I will be posting more on this theme later.

No comments: