Hiring a lawyer is expensive. Divorce and custody cases can turn into battles that cost a lot of money. But it does not have cost you as much as it does and that is because, in part, other law offices charge you for actions that they do not have to take, take unreasonable positions that cost you more, and/or have unfavorable billing practices. At the Mulinazzi Law Office (www.mulinazzi.com), we don’t do any of this. As a result, we earn our client’s loyalty and we win awards for client satisfaction to include winning Best of Howard County Family Law Office four times and counting. MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office staff constantly think about how to be more efficient with client funds. We consider everything as a cost-benefit analysis for our client (not for the Office). We do this because it is more important for us to have an outstanding reputation as being fair and honest attorneys and to earn referral business with our reputation than for us to nickel and dime our existing clients to make more in the short term. Every time we watch our client’s bottom line, our clients save a little or a lot of money and it quickly adds up. The information below is only one example of how Mulinazzi Law Office reduces costs to our clients. Please look for other blog posts as the information below is part of a series called “How to keep your Attorney’s Fees down in a Divorce or Custody Case“.
How does MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office charge less than other law offices? We get bills from other attorneys and law firms all the time as part of “discovery.” Discovery is the process by which each side is able to ask questions and to request documents in order to gather evidence for each of our respective cases. Last week we got a bill from a well-known local law office which had two examples of typical over charging.
(1) The other law office charges a “minimum” charge for an action item that in reality takes almost no time at all. Specifically, this office charged for a paralegal’s time at a minimum of 12 minutes (0.2 hours) to file something electronically. Of course, we also file things electronically and therefore we know how long it should take to complete this. But to be sure, we timed this action and it took about 105 seconds or less than 2 minutes. More worrisome was that the other office charged their client 12 minutes for each electronic filing on the same day and in doing so the paralegal billed for 36 minutes (0.6 hr.). The reality is that when you electronically file pleadings usually you file more than one thing at the same time by simply adding additional filings under the same “envelope number” or filing. Since that is the way to do it, it takes LESS time to add the 2nd and 3rd document than it does to input the 1st document. To be clear, it should take about 6-9 minutes. This is how much our office charges- 6 minutes – not 36 minutes. So we charge up to 6x less than the other office for the same exact thing. So, in a side by side comparison: The other law office charges 0.60 hours to file electronically but MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office charges 0.10 – 0.15 hours to request and get the transcript.= In this instance, MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office charges 4-6 times LESS than the other law office. (2) Another example for the same bill, is that the other law office charged 1.00 hour of time to drive to the court house to drop off a request for a transcript. This cost their client $100. The reality is that the request can and is done over the internet and that takes our paralegal about 12 minutes. To add more charges to their client, the other Law Office then charged their client 36 minutes to drive back to the courthouse to pick up the transcript (another $60 to the their client). This other law office is 10 minutes away from the courthouse so it’s inexplicable why it would take more than an hour round trip. That being said, when our Law Office needs to drop off or pick something up from the courthouse we look at the attorney schedules and if an attorney will be there in the next day or two, then we add it to our action items and pick it up FREE OF CHARGE. Or, we have someone pick it up on the way home or on the way to work and that takes the staff member about a total of 15 minutes out of his or her way. So, in a side by side comparison: The other law office charges 1.60 hours to request and get the transcript but MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office charges 0.15 – 0.30 hours to request and get the transcript.= In this instance, MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office charges 5-6 times LESS than the other law office. If you or someone you care about needs an affordable attorney – who happens to also be rated the BEST FAMILY LAW OFFICE – refer them to MLO/Mulinazzi Law Office and call 410-290-6270 or contact us at www.mulinazzi.com. But first, have them vet us on-line by reviewing our 100s of client reviews and our awards to see that our clients agree that we focus on their needs and keep them as the priority. See www.avvo.com, www.mulinazzi.com, Facebook, Google for Business, Yelp, etc.