So, I try to keep up with the legal blogs being written by other divorce attorneys in Charleston, both as a means of not only keeping myself abreast of developments in the local legal community but also as a means of keeping my mind open to new and different ways to think about issues common to the community at large. There are several that are really good, and each has carved out a bit of niche for themselves in the “blogosphere.” I am resolved to sharing the information and updates that are out there; it doesn’t matter that these folks are my competitors, good writing is good writing and good writing needs to be shared.
For example, if you are looking for precise analysis of new case law, particularly regarding divorce law in South Carolina, you are looking for Greg Forman’s blog. It is an invaluable resource in this regard, and I would encourage you to give it a read.
If you are looking for practical advice, information about nationwide trends in divorce law, or if you are an attorney looking for assistance in upgrading your firm’s technology, Ben and Jenny Stevens in Spartanburg have the blog for you.
The list goes on. I hope to mention them all in due time.
One blog that I particularly enjoy is written by Stephen Futeral and Thomas Nelson at Futeral & Nelson. The reason I find their blog useful and enjoyable is that it isn’t focused just on family law. They cover a variety of topics in the fields of family law, criminal and DUI defense, and personal injury work, among others. I’m always impressed by the amount of time they devote to keeping so many topics updated on their blog.
All of this is prelude to my thoughts on the topic of lawyers as problem solvers. Mr. Futeral wrote a post is September that I believe should be mandatory reading for anybody looking for information on hiring a divorce lawyer in Charleston, SC, entitled Are “Aggressive” Lawyers “Effective” Lawyers? I won’t recount the point of the post here in detail, other than to state I wholeheartedly agree with his premise that clients do themselves a disservice by hunting for the most “aggressive” lawyer in town. They need to be looking for problem solvers.
I work hard every day to try to solve my client’s legal problems, and I work equally hard to avoid adding to my client’s problems. It is the foundation of my practice, and it is, essentially, the economic model upon which I run my business. The practice of law at its core remains an economic endeavor; I and every other Charleston divorce lawyer practice law to make a living.
Some lawyers charge higher fees than I do, some lawyers charge significantly less than I do. Some lawyers provide huge value for the huge fees they command, some don’t. For some lawyers the large retainers they charge are simply a valuable asset hey hold, an opportunity to squeeze every drop out of case before it is resolved. I certainly won’t name names, and I bear no animosity to these attorneys, as they have obviously worked very hard or been very fortunate to have placed themselves in such position. Most have staked out this high-price, high-conflict ground in the Charleston divorce market by “being aggressive,” fighting on every issue and for every inch as if their client’s very life depended upon it. This simply is not the business model of DeTreville Law & Mediation.
Our business model is to charge our client’s the least amount of money to gain the greatest results for our clients with the least amount of conflict and stress possible. Sometimes this means the fee may be minimal at the optimistic beginning of a case. That fee may rise as conflict rises, perhaps if the other party retains an “aggressive” divorce attorney. Sometimes it means we have to charge a higher fee at the outset, as circumstances indicate the case will require substantial front-end work to garner a valuable result.
But the fee will always be based on how much effort it will take to solve the problems at hand, not on how much the client is willing or able to spend. If I can solve the problems of the wealthiest man in town for $1,500, then that’s how much I will charge him. I will work to identify the critical issues at hand as rapidly as possible, determine a reasonable solution to those issues, and work to apply a practical solution with the fewest man-hours possible.
The reason for this is simple: our business model at DeTreville Law is based not on getting the most amount of money possible out of every person that walks in the door. Our model is built on providing the greatest value possible to every person who walks in the door, so that every person who walks in the door will send five or ten more people walking through the door. The greatest compliment a lawyer can get is a referral from a current or former client; it is a badge of legal excellence that can’t be replicated in any other fashion. It means that we have done our job, we’ve solved problems, provided excellent customer service, and helped somebody get back on their feet.