Secrets Lawyers Keep from Clients

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1. They Purposely Ignore Calls from Clients

Have you ever tried getting in touch with an attorney? They sure don’t make it easy. Many lawyers will purposely allow clients to leave multiple messages before returning their calls. Lawyers do this to set certain expectations in the attorney-client relationship. Specifically, the lawyer wants to convey that he is busy and that his time is valuable, so he cannot be available at the client’s whim. As frustrating as this may be for the client, many attorneys feel it is necessary measure to maintain the productivity and effective representation.

2. Paralegals Do Most of the Work

Have you ever reviewed legal bills? Most of that work wasn’t performed by an attorney. The reality is that lawyers delegate the vast majority of their work to paralegals. It is not uncommon for the paralegal to be more familiar with the case than the attorney. Paralegals perform a broad range of functions from legal research, to reviewing discovery documents, to drafting legal briefs. Although the attorney may review and revise the finished work products, the paralegal is often the one who did the heavy lifting.

3. They Train Junior Associates on Your Dime

Did you hire a senior attorney or partner? A junior associate is probably getting trained at your expense. Unsurprisingly, most senior attorneys and partners assign junior associates to work on each case. However, most clients don’t understand that these junior associates will bill many hours to the case while learning how to perform basic legal tasks. The junior associate may have taken five hours to do what the senior attorney or partner could have done in one hour. Although the junior attorney’s rate may be lower than that of a senior attorney or partner, the high number of hours that the junior attorney takes to complete basic tasks frequently ends up costing the client more in the end.

4. They Overbill You

Have you noticed that attorneys only bill by tenths of an hour? That’s because they round everything up to six minutes. If a client has a two-minute call with an attorney, the client might only expect to be billed for two minutes. However, most firms will round that call up to 6 minutes (.1 hours) on the client’s bill. Likewise, a call that takes 7 minutes will be rounded up to 12 minutes (.2 hours) on the client’s bill. It may seem unfair to the client, but firms do this to simplify their billing processes.

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