So are there hidden lawyer fees and is socializing with your lawyer a good idea? Keep your interaction business-like. If your lawyer invites you out for a cup of coffee just make sure you are not going to get charged by the minute for the discussion you have with them.
After all, you could find you have a leisurely conversation for an hour where you talk about your friends, your hobbies, your business dealings, and you come home one day to find a bill for a shocking amount of money.
You will wonder and ask, “Why did I get charged for that hour-long coffee break?”
The answer is simple. During the time you were having coffee with your lawyer, your case came up in conversation. The lawyer decided to charge you for their time.
After all, their time is really all they have to sell and since you were the subject of the conversation, which became a consultation, you’re the one that is going to pay.
So make sure when you walk into that office you are prepared and you keep yourself business-like. At all times, stick to the facts of the case, and try your best not to get emotional. Yes, I know going through a divorce is a hugely emotional time but really, there are other venues for addressing your feelings.
If you feel the need to discuss your feelings as a result of discussing your case, make some notes that you can bring up later in therapy, but do not have that conversation with your lawyer sitting in his or her office.
Let me give you a specific example where I made this mistake. I walked into my lawyer’s office and the lawyer asked, “How are you? How are you coping with the situation?”
Wearing my heart on my sleeve, I wasn’t going to miss an audience. I spent the next hour and a half telling her my side of the story. I held nothing back. What was I to do? I was upset.
She, being a good ‘talker’ as well, proceeded to tell me all about her divorce as if we were old friends. Of course, her story only took one hour to tell.
A week later, I got my first bill from her. At $150 an hour, the two and half hours cost me $375. Ouch!
If I wasn’t already upset enough over my marriage dissolving, that new bill was easily worth another good cry. It was not a good feeling and that is how I discovered the hidden lawyer fee’s in an expensive lesson.