Legal Services – Good, Fast, and Cheap
Recently I’ve been thinking about my clients, their expectations of me, legal services I provide, and the general cost of legal services. I would say that at least once a week, someone calls me and says “I got arrested for ________________. I was wondering how much you charge for representing me in court for ________________.”
Calls like this tell me that the potential client is price shopping – nothing more and nothing less.
What do I charge for handling your criminal case?
It seems to be one of the first questions, if not THE first question from potential clients.
Unfortunately, I think that this question misses the point entirely. PRICE is the wrong thing to focus on. Good VALUE is what will make the biggest impact on your life and the results of your case.
The other day I was sitting in Court talking with a client and he mentioned the cost of legal services to me. This happened even after he hired me. I explained that yes, legal services can seem expensive, but you get what you pay for. I held his hand through every step of the process and made myself available to him when he had questions or concerns. I even made sure to stay after hours some nights for appointments so that his work schedule wasn’t interrupted.
Now, I get it. I realize that life occurs around the clock and that different clients have different needs. When I was in college I took a class where another student did a mini presentation on “The Iron Triangle.” I didn’t really understand it at the time. He stood up and wrote three words on the board in a triangular shape.
GOOD. FAST. CHEAP.
That brings me to the point of my blog post today. It’s about what people value in legal services. Price isn’t all that matters. Not by a long shot.
Let me explain for a minute how the “Iron Triangle” works.
In the triangle there are three options. These are Good, Fast, and Cheap. But the thing is, you can only pick two. See the picture above. If you pick:
- Good + Fast = It won’t be cheap.
- Fast + Cheap = It won’t be good.
- Cheap + Good = It won’t be fast.
This applies to many areas of life. Whether you’re hiring a lawyer, a plumber, or a a mechanic. What type of job would you expect your mechanic to do if you shopped around for the absolute cheapest option? Or what kind of house would you expect to get if you paid contractors $10,000 to build it? It’s well understood that it’s not possible to get a good quality house built for that amount. So when it comes to legal services, I encourage clients to ask the same question – what are you getting for your money?
Most lawyers have a hard stop at 5pm every day, and many won’t get back to you for days or weeks at a time. My clients agree that there is a great deal of value in having a lawyer who will actually answer their calls/emails/texts or return them within the same day, and will stay after hours to fit their work schedule.
If you’ve been through the legal process before, ask yourself these questions:
(And if you haven’t, these are important values to consider while you’re looking for a lawyer.)
- Was your lawyer available when you had big questions or concerns?
- Did you talk to your lawyer or did everything have to go through their secretary?
- Did they recognize your face before they went into court? Or did they shout your name in the courtroom?
- Did you feel blindsided at any point in the legal process? Or did anything happen that you didn’t expect?
- Did you feel that your hand was being held every step of the way?
- Did you enjoy the comfort of knowing your lawyer was available, working hard on your case, and keeping you up to date?
Once you think about the answers to some of these questions you’ll start to understand the type of VALUE that I mean. When your freedom and future are on the line, price shouldn’t be the only thing to consider. Think about how much you spent on your last car. Chances are it was a lot more than the legal fees for a good criminal defense lawyer.
Looking at price alone is a race to the bottom. The bottom line is, as the saying goes – You Get What You Pay For.
If having a lawyer who gets to know you personally, and promptly returns calls and emails without making you go through a secretary is important to you…
If you feel unsure whether you can get through the legal process on your own…
If you want to know without a doubt that your lawyer will candidly prepare you for all the possibilities, explain things every step of the way, and put everything they’ve got into your case…
I would be happy to represent you.
Give me a call at (512) 270-8676, or fill out the form to the right so we can get the ball rolling.