Many moons ago, when I was a law student, I took Divorce Law based solely on the fact that the professor, who was a New York practitioner, brought in one of his celebrity clients to answer questions on the last day of class. My year, the professor rolled up with James Gandolfini, who, when asked how he could possibly justify going from The Sopranos to Surviving Christmas, intimated that a man had to pay his bills and that — sneaking a glance at the professor, corpulent and clad in horn-rimmed glasses, suspenders and an exquisitely form-fitting monogrammed Bill Lumbergh shirt — divorce is costly.
So how much are we talking about?
A well-handled divorce is likely to cost each party at least $10,000, and depending on the size and complexity of marital assets and on child-custody issues, it’s not unusual for the figure to reach $50,000. A trial requiring a full complement of private detectives, computer experts, and psychological, psychiatric, and custody witnesses can cost each side well over $100,000.
Alright, sounds vaguely normal, minus the shady “computer experts.” But Washingtonian tells us that like checks at any fine dining establishment, divorce bills sometimes arrive prix fixe, with the gratuity already included:
Some divorce lawyers include a clause in the payment agreement allowing them to ask for a voluntary gratuity in the event of a very good result. When the case is over, the lawyer may remind you of this…
Divorce lawyers asking for a tip is pretty slimy, but clients should rest assured that they are getting serviced by the finest law practitioners in the land, right? Well, not quite:
Divorce law rarely attracts the best and brightest from America’s law schools. Many top schools ignore the specialty.
In related news, the title of the Washingtonian article is “The Top 25 Divorce Lawyers in Washington.”
The Top 25 Divorce Lawyers in Washington [Washingtonian]