You hire a lawyer to represent you in your divorce or family court case. You hope to billed only for work actually done. Read the retainer agreement before you sign it to know what will and will not be billed for. Nearly every retainer has billing minimums for certain activies like phone calls, emails, letters, etc. Realize that every time you call, text or email your lawyer, you will be billed. Most lawyers even bill to listen to or leave a voice mail.
Common is for a retainer to include minimum billings as follows: 0.5 hour for letters (read or write), 0.25 hour for phone calls (make, receive, leave or listen to voice message), etc. Here is how it gets greedy by some lawyers. The lawyer mails you a letter to call him or her to discuss your case, 0.5 hour billed; then you call the lawyer and leave a voice message, 0.25 hour billed to listen to it; then your lawyer calls you back, you talk for 3 minutes, and another 0.25 billed. Bottomline? You were just billed 1.0 hour for a 3 minute phone call.
Check your bills each time you get them, if you see such practices, contact your lawyer in writing to discontinue such practice and just pick up the phone and call you. If such practice does not discontinue, change lawyers.
Additionally, if your lawyer calls you and leaves a message, listen to it and do not just call the lawyer back from caller ID. The message left may alleviate any need to actually talk saving you money.
At the Law Office of Mace H. Greenfield, we never play such billing games to charge you extra for nothing. Voice mails listened to or left for you are rarely if ever billed. Retainer minimums are rarely if ever applied for any activity.
Be a wise consumer of legal services.