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March 2010

Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching is Catching On!

Do you need an experienced Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Lawyer?


Do you just need the help of an experienced Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Lawyer?

Until about one year ago, the second option didn't exist as a legal service here in Rhode Island to my knowledge.

In March of 2009, I started the Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching Practice.  

Are you a person you just wants to some legal help with your Rhode Island divorce or family law matter? 

Are having a hard time finding a Rhode Island lawyer to help you with the forms and understanding the family law process specifically as it relates to your family law matter? 

It's not surprising!  This is and has been typical for decades.

* * * 3 Reasons Other Attorneys Don't Offer Divorce and Family Law Coaching! * * *

 Why?  Three reasons!  It's impractical, it creates liability, and it's not profitable

, it's impracticable.   This coaching approach involves piecemeal work for clients for as much or as little coaching as they want. A coaching approach requires a constant shift in the attorney's focus. This requires additional time, additional file creation,  and additional expense for upkeep and storage.  This means that without extensive planning the coaching approach requires greater focus and greater expense to the attorney.

, it creates greater legal exposure and greater liability resulting from more clients who may misunderstand or misapply legal items discussed by the lawyer with the client, more issues, and perhaps less information to work with when providing the legal coaching if the attorney is not specifically prepared for addressing the continuous shift in clients and their legal coaching needs which might well triple the client load as compared to the typical lawyer's client load.

, Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching is designed to save the client money over typical representation.  Coaching is meant to be an expense saving service to the client.  The client uses the attorney's services on an "as needed" or "as desired" basis.  The client uses the attorney's coaching services as much or as little as the client desires.  As a result of these things, there is no specific cash flow resulting from any specific client because it is at the discretion of the client.

 In the end, the Rhode Island Family Law Coaches income results from the number of appointments scheduled to give actual direct coaching and legal advice to the client rather than a single client that the attorney can bill a certain number of hours of work too.  Since it does not provide a constant income stream for the attorney, it is not profitable without building a strong coaching practice at rates well below the hourly  rates charged by experienced Rhode Island family law attorneys for representation of the client from beginning to end.

 Why should you care?

Let me give you an example.

Imagine that you are a spouse and you come into my office seeking representation in court because it is the traditional method of hiring an attorney.  You tell me you own a home, have two children and a have three retirement accounts, and that you and your wife are very amicable about things.  

Even if I may be sympathetic and understanding to your situation and want to give you the best price possible, I must consider everything.  My analysis would be roughly as follows without extra issues and circumstances.

 The average uncontested divorce requires about 13 hours of an attorney's time.  An Rhode Island Divorce attorney with ten (10) years of divorce experience receives about an average of $200 per hour for his or her services.  Total costs for the attorney's services to prepare all the documents, discuss the issues with the client, attend court hearings, and draft and file the temporary and final order would result in an Attorney's fee of $2,600 plus costs with the $2,600 as an upfront retainer.

The client is likely to breathe a heavy sigh even though this is a very reasonable quote for an experienced family law attorney to protect your interests in a court proceeding in an uncontested divorce matter with the issues mentioned properly presented to the court.

Now you are the client, would you be overwhelmed to shell out $2,600 upfront to an attorney?

 Shouldn't there be an alternative to this!  Is there an alternative?

 Now there is!  Meet Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Coaching offered by Attorney Christopher Pearsall at The Rhode Island Divorce & Coaching Institute!

 My practice method is so streamlined and its principles are elevated to a level that eliminates the three (3) major issues that prevent today's Rhode Island Attorneys from diverging from the traditional model

 Now let us look at the same model.  I'm a Rhode Island Divorce attorney with ten (10) years of experience focused exclusively in the area of Rhode Island divorce and family law.

 This time we forget the $200 per hour or more for my services.  Why?  Because you opt to enter my Rhode Island Divorce & Family Law Coaching program.  Now things change considerably.  Initially, you sit with me for an hour as I evaluate your case, explain your legal rights, review the necessary documents that are required or address your questions; essentially you and I will discuss and address anything and everything relating to your case that are most important to 
your issues and your case because this is your life and that is what is important!  

 What is the cost of that initial one hour coaching session?

 Despite the $200+ market value per hour of the services, the cost is only $135 for that hour.

 Best of all, it's not your typical "Free Consultation" from the newspapers or Yellow Page ads.  If you don't know what the typical "Free Consultation' is, let me explain it to you.

 The "Free Consultation" used by so many Rhode Island Divorce and Family Law Lawyers in print advertising uses the word "FREE" merely as the
hook to suck you in the door.  

 It is a
hook to make you think you are getting something of value with a professional lawyer for... FREE.  Enticing isn't it?  No, not if you understand that you're not getting anything at all for FREE!  In fact, you're losing time in your life that you will never get back only to hear the other shoe drop as the attorney tells you how much you should write the check out for in order to gain his or her services.

 What does this "Free Consultation" actually give you?  It is usually something like this. The attorney will listen to what you have to say for a few minutes, perhaps even a half hour if you are lucky enough to get that far.  Then the lawyer will tell you that there are numerous issues that need to be addressed in your case.  He or she will probably mention to you some legalese that you may not be familiar with and let you know that your case is more serious than you think and that's why you need a lawyer because it is too easy to be taken advantage of or to forget something that could cause a serious issue in the future and the sooner you hire a good lawyer to help you the better off you will be.  The lawyer will interject things during the discussion that are intended to convince you that he or she is the right lawyer for you.  Lastly the lawyer will typically tell you the cost to get started and he or she can immediately get to work to protect your interests.  You are given a clear sense of urgency here as it is clear you should be getting out your checkbook to cut the attorney a check.

Does anything sound fishy to you here?   If not, it should.  You should always take time to think about it and never be pressured into any decision.  Does the lawyer seem to want to lock you in quickly before another attorney gets you as a client?

That's a warning sign.

 Ultimately, if you think about your whole "Free Consultation", go over in your head or in your notes (if you took them) what the Rhode Island Family lawyer told you that tells you really what your rights are.  Can you use anything that the lawyer told you to get anything done even if you don't return to that lawyer?  If not, what did you get for your "Free Consultation" . . . you got a sales pitch and you spent time in your life that you will never get back.

My personal views are no secret.  I am not in favor of the "Free Consultation."  I would rather give a Coaching/Advice Session with advice for the client that is specific to your situation, be paid less than the value of my services to help a person in need and make sure the person knows I have no other expectations other than to spend an hour with them and be paid $135 for the hour of my time. 

If the client wants to go further, the client can ask.  No need to wait for any other shoe to drop at all.  If you don't ask, then I know you're not interested and I have had the pleasure of serving you and you can call upon me for coaching services whenever you like and we'll set up another appointment at an hour for $135.  

 As a client, you can use me for coaching and legal advice as much or as little as you want as long as you understand and agree that I have a 1 hour minimum appointment time and it costs $135 for my time and $33.75 for each portion of a quarter hour that we go over that time with your authority.  Each time, it is not "FREE" but you leave with highly valuable information that you can rely upon.

 In the scenario we used before, if you were the client, you could come to me for an initial coaching session to learn the divorce process and your rights.  You could then come for a 2nd coaching session to address the initial paperwork for filing and how service of process works.  If you desire you could have a third session to help with a Marital Settlement Agreement with your spouse if you wanted that assistance. Your fourth session could be coaching to prepare for your Nominal Hearing.  Lastly the 5th Session would address the drafting of your temporary order (Decision Pending the Final Judgment of Divorce) and your Final Judgment of Divorce and how each of these documents are properly entered with the Family Court.  In total, that is not $2,600 in one lump sum.  It is merely 5 sessions in increments over a 5 1/2 month period of $135 each.  This would be a totaled as $135 x 5 = $675.00.

 Using this new Coaching Program you saved a whopping $1,925!

 The fact is... this service is saving people thousands of dollars.  I have estimated that in its very first year of operation I have saved my coaching clients in excess of $134,000 in legal fees and helped to process more amicable divorces using this method than in all the other past 10 years combined.  That is no small feat!  In fact, it is a tremendous track record that speaks for itself!

So what is the major change and what is in it for me?

 That is simplicity itself!  Rather than serve fewer clients and make more money from you  as a client, I choose to serve many more clients and make much less money.

This practice method works for me as a Rhode Island Lawyer focusing my practice on divorce and family law.  I don't expect it to work for all attorneys because there is a large trade-off.

 What is that trade off?  Income.

 I don't need a BMW.  I don't need a summer home.  I don't need three vacations per year in Greece.  I don't need nor do I want to rape the public and buy a mansion.  It comes down simply to what I want.

 I'm here to serve you with what I know.  I can't do it for free because we all have to live.  I want a reasonable wage for my professional skills.  I want as much time with my wife as possible.  I want time for myself and to work around my house.  I want time with family and with friends.

 If you are an attorney and you want to be wealthy....a coaching practice won't work for you.  If you want to help people and you just want to make a living, then I invite other Rhode Island attorneys to contact me and I'll  be happy to train you to set up a coaching practice.  Perhaps together we can restore the people's faith in attorneys, courts and our legal system as a whole.

 In my next article, I'll let my coaching clients express to you for themselves what they have thought of the program and you can decide for yourselves whether it might be something for you.

 If you have questions about the program or want to set up your affordable initial divorce or family law coaching session, I invite you to call me at (401) 632-6976.

 Authored by:  

Attorney Christopher A. Pearsall, Rhode Island Divorce* and Family Law* Attorney and Coach

Copyright 2010 to Present - The Rhode Island Divorce & Coaching Institute (All Rights Reserved.)