For family lawyers and clients, ensuring reasonable attorney fees can be a challenge. One reason may be the issues faced by young lawyers, and frankly, lawyers in general. The Wisconsin State Bar completed a report http://www.wisbar.org/NewsPublications/InsideTrack/Pages/Article.aspx?Volume=5&Issue=24&ArticleID=11251 demonstrating some of those challenges, which include sky-high debt, lack of employment, underemployment, low pay, and lack of practical skills and training. These problems are real, and are faced by many recent law graduates.
However, the problem may not be lack of available clients. A Dane County family law judge recently estimated that 80% of family cases in his court included at least one party who was not represented. Unfortunately, many potential clients believe that reasonable attorney fees are impossible. That is not necessarily true, since legal representation, done properly, need not be prohibitively expensive.
On the other hand, there are many costs and fees charged by lawyers that could be reduced or eliminated through careful planning, use of technology, and client consultation. As the owner of a family law practice in Dane and Sauk Counties, I have structured the practice to provide excellent service for reasonable attorney fees. This allow me to reach clients who may not otherwise have retained a family law attorney, increase my business, and provide a service for the community. Given the need for young lawyers to find employment, and the obvious need for greater representation of parties, the profession would be well-served to rethink some standard practices to ensure more reasonable attorney fees.