Talking about attorney’s fees is probably the most sensitive subject I discuss with a client.
You probably wouldn’t be coming to Steidl and Steinberg if cost was no object, so it is understandable that you want to keep the fees as low as possible. I have been doing this work for over three decades and I simply charge an amount of money that is commensurate with my experience, my results, and making a living. Most of our clients are pleasantly surprised when I tell them how much my services are going to cost.
Some have done comparison shopping, some have heard stories from their well-meaning friends, and some have an active imagination about how much money they think attorneys earn (in many cases, much less than you would think). When they see we are either less expensive than they thought, or are competitive with lesser-known attorneys, they generally hire us. But occasionally, some potential clients go elsewhere, and I look for reasons why.
I recently met with a client who had seen another attorney earlier in the week. We were looking at a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan of Reorganization that involved making a payment to the Court monthly in exchange for reducing the client’s payments by at least $500.00 per month. The other attorney gave the client a number for what his payment to the Court would be, but the possible client came to Steidl and Steinberg for a free consultation as well.
I spend a lot of time with the client (as I do with all of my clients) and went over his possible Chapter 13 Plan payment and how it was arrived at. I explained the creditors we had to pay and how much, and the creditors we didn’t have to pay or needed to pay only a tiny amount to comply with the Bankruptcy Code. At the end, my number for his monthly payment to the court was similar to the number given to him by the other attorney. Yet my potential client was thanking me profusely.
The client told me that he now understood how we came up with the figures, which was important to him. The other attorney just told him the number and told him to pay it. I brought the client into the process and gave him detailed paperwork that he can refer to time and time again.
I don’t know if the potential client is going to come back to me or use the other attorney. The other attorney had quoted him a lower initial price than I had. And, to a cash-starved person, a lower price is a lower price.
It made me think of an experience I had when I needed a car back in 2008. I knew which car I wanted, which equipment I needed, and how much each dealer paid for the car. So I went to shop for price. I went to three dealers, and they were all about the same, but I had a particularly good feeling about the first dealer that I visited, Then I received a call from the second dealer, and he quoted me a price that was almost $2,000.00 lower than the others. He told me to come out to sign the papers. I drove out there right away. I waited for the salesperson. He came out, looking sad, and said to me he had made a mistake and had under quoted me by, of course, about $2,000.00. I knew this salesperson was experienced and under no circumstances had he made this mistake. He just wanted to get me out there figuring once he had me, he would be able to close the deal.
I walked out.
I went back to dealer No. 1, signed the papers, knowing that I probably paid a couple hundred dollars more for his vehicle than for the identical vehicle at the dealership that misquoted me. And I left satisfied.
When you get a quote for a price from Steidl and Steinberg, you can rely on it to be accurate and firm and you will get the best we have to offer. You will have the confidence that you are at a law firm that has been doing this for over three decades.