“Hello, this is the traffic lawyer speaking. How may I help you?”

“What’s your rate?”

“I’m going to need more information than that.”

The above is a snippet of an almost daily occurrence at my Georgia traffic attorney law office. Potential clients (most well meaning) call the office and demand to know our rate. This type of question seems to imply that every traffic ticket case is the same. That every client is the same. And that every lawyer is the same. We are boiled down to a rate, a fee, or a retainer. My service as an attorney is perceived as a mere commodity. The assumption is that the potential client will call every law office on the list, demand their rates, and then make their decision to hire the cheapest attorney.

While this may seem like a logical approach to some people, the practice of law (even traffic law) is a little more complicated than that. My rate will vary on what you are charged with, which court your case will be heard in, and the client’s goal. A simple case that can be placed in diversion without much court time will get the lowest rate. A serious traffic offense in a difficult court that will require litigation will get a much higher fee. My rate will almost certainly vary by court. Some courts are just plain difficult to do business in. Others are out of the way, and not many lawyers service them. Other courts we do a high volume practice in, so we are almost always there – so adding one more case to the load isn’t a big deal.

An attorney’s fee is not a one size fits all proposition, but is carefully considered by the individual’s needs. Most clients are okay with a reduced charge to keep their driving history clean. They are okay paying an attorney fee and a court fine to maintain a good driving record. Their main goal is convenience and long term savings on their insurance premiums. These clients will get the lowest fees. Other clients want to fight their cases aggressively. They will want to subpoena dash cam video from police cars, or have a jury trial on the merits of their case. These clients will necessarily be quoted higher fees.

There are additional elements to consider when deciding who to hire. How well do you get along with the attorney? Do you believe the attorney will get the job done? What is his or her familiarity with the traffic court your case is being heard in? Will he or she return your phone calls, or are you okay with less customer service for a cheaper rate?

When deciding what rate to quote for a traffic ticket case, I will take many factors into consideration. What other attorney’s are quoting is not a big one. I have been told that I am neither the cheapest, or the most expensive traffic lawyer in Georgia. I’m somewhere in the middle. For me, that works. I do enough volume to keep myself familiar with the Georgia traffic courts and laws, but not so cheap that I am overwhelmed with a massive caseload and unable to find time to talk to my clients.

For me, it’s about finding the right spot. For a potential client, it should also be about finding the right attorney for them. So, give me a call – but don’t ask what my rate is up front – let’s talk about your case first.