One of the toughest issues for attorneys and clients to talk about is fees. As in any other situation where a professional of any kind is hired, there is bargain, professional agrees to provide quality services to client, client agrees to pay professional. No one like paying out money, especially for criminal or family law situations. It is like paying to fix your car or your roof, your money goes to keep you where you are and avoid a bigger problem, not for something fun like a vacation or recreational vehicle. One of the most common complaints of clients about attorneys is fees, and one of the most common complaints of attorneys about clients concerns non-payment of fees.
How to avoid fee issues ruining the attorney client relationship?
Both sides need to be upfront about what they need and expect. Attorneys need to have written agreements saying what they charge and terms of payment. If payment up front is required, which is common especially in family law, that needs to be communicated in writing and orally to the client. While it is not always possible to predict how much a case will cost, attorneys need to do their best to estimate costs and tell clients what they can do to control costs. If clients have a certain budget for a case, or concerns regarding costs and payment, they need to communicate those to the attorney up front. If a client can only afford 5 thousand for a case likely to cost at least 10, some other arrangement needs to be made or there will be a major conflict. Good communication avoids most fee issues between attorneys and clients.