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Another Lesson about going with a "Cheap Lawyer"

It's tempting - I get it. One lawyer says he'll handle your case for a few hundred dollars - or charge per court appearance. Another lawyer's retainer is several thousand up-front. Since you don't know what you're getting, and money is tight, you rationalize to yourself that you'll be o.k. with the cheaper lawyer. After all, he seems like a nice guy, seems like he's been doing this awhile - what could go wrong?
I had a child support case in court recently where the Father retained a cheap attorney. The guy is over-loaded with cases, every single time the case is on in court, he always has multiple other cases. He appears disheveled and doesn't appear like he remembers the case. He even showed up on our last court date & called out his client's name even though his client was sitting nearby - indicating he had forgotten who his own client was!
Suffice it to say, this "cheap attorney" cancelled 1 of the court dates at the last minute - costing both my client & his own client a day off from work. On 2 other court dates he showed up to court approximately 30 minutes late each time - the last time the case was marked for a 10am time-certain trial & he showed up at 10:25 by his own admission. He didn't even bother to apologize to the Judge - apparently his sloppy reputation preceded him.
He tried "negotiating" a settlement with me. His negotiating tact: "Will you client agree to reduce any of the support amount?" When I said "no," he meekly replied "ok" and walked off to his client to "break him the bad news."
This "cheap attorney" did absolutely nothing for his client - except of course to cost him at least $2,000 (since he charged a flat-fee of $500 per appearance) as well as several days off his personal leave balance. Because of his intransigence and unprofessionalism, I had refused to engage in any settlement negotiation and got everything my client deserved.
Thus, while it may be tempting to go with a cheaper attorney, you also have to consider whether that attorney will actually end up costing you money.
Here's an analogy: Say you want to buy a car. You have a choice between buying a new car with an excellent performance rating. Or you could buy a used car, where you'll need to spend alot of time and money taking it constantly back to the repair shop. Which do you choose?
Well, if you literally can't afford the new car, that's one thing. But if you rationalize that "maybe you'll be ok with the used one" that's another. Point is that you may end up worse off with the used car - after factoring in your precious time & money (not to mention aggravation) - than with the new one.
Lawyers are like cars - there are used ones out there and new ones. Amongst the new ones, there are quite capable cars (Fords, Nissans, etc.), there are luxury cars (Lexus, BMW, etc) and there are certainly elite cars (Lamborghini, Ferrari, etc). If you make 6-figures, or close to it, you can - and should - afford a Lexus attorney. Otherwise, you may be stuck on the highway cursing at the Heavens that you made a bad choice later on! 

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