How To Lower Your Lawyer’s Legal Fees

You’ve heard all the lawyer jokes (How do you make a lawyer smile for a wedding photograph – ask them to say “Feeeeeeeees”) and read the bad press (“Compensation wiped out by legal fees”), BUT a good lawyer can help save you money, and money carefully spent on his or her legal fees is well spent.

o Is my first appointment free? Some lawyers provide the first appointment or initial consultation for free. Ask about this when you make an appointment. You certainly shouldn’t have to pay for an initial consultation, although some lawyers will try charging a fraction of their hourly billing rate. Don’t even consider a lawyer who wants to charge you his or her full rate for an initial consultation.

o Understand the law firm’s fee system before you hire a lawyer. Understanding what and how you are to be charged is obviously important. Billing procedures and rates are a common point of disagreement between lawyers and clients. The more you know ahead of time, the better off you’ll be. Again, this is another one of those questions designed to eliminate disagreements later on. Too often clients find themselves on the hook for hidden costs they knew nothing about.

Ask about the account management process – i.e. how often will you get to speak to the lawyer about how your matter is progressing and be given an update and breakdown of costs? If you have a tight budget, let them know and see if they will agree to a fixed price for the work – if it’s a straightforward piece of work, this shouldn’t be out of the question.

o Check for hidden extras. Ask what additional charges there are likely to be (often referred to by the lawyer as “disbursements”) such as searches, stamp duty, bank charges etc. Although it should have been made very clear, make sure whether the figure you have been quoted includes or excludes VAT.

o What do you estimate as the total cost to me? Don’t be concerned if the lawyer resists answering this question. So much of the cost of a case depends on the degree of conflict between you and the other party, and you know that better than the lawyer. You may learn a lot from the lawyer’s answer, however, so it’s helpful to ask. If your fee arrangement is to be hourly, you should also ask your lawyer to notify you when he or she realizes that the estimate is likely to be exceeded.

o What can I do to reduce the charges? Ask if there are any tasks you can do yourself to cut down on the amount you will be charged.

o Conditional Fees (No Win, No Fee). This means that if you lose your case, you don’t have to pay your lawyer, but you may have to pay the legal fees of the winning party. However, if you win, you might have to pay a higher fee. This type of arrangement is most often seen in cases relating to accident/personal injury, human rights cases and insolvency. Increasingly, forward thinking commercial lawyers are prepared to share the risk of other types of commercial transaction with the client. Expect the fee to be higher for a win than it would have been had it been a fixed fee, as long as you pay less or nothing for a “loss” or aborted transaction.

o Please confirm this in writing. In most cases your lawyer must advise you in writing how much the work will cost or, if that is not possible, how costs will be calculated. Don’t sign any agreement about fees unless you understand it and are happy with it and don’t even consider a lawyer who won’t give cost details.

o When do I have to pay? In most cases your lawyer must advise you in advance and in writing how and when you will have to pay. You are entitled to receive a detailed bill before you pay. Some lawyers will agree to wait until the matter ends before you pay them. Remember how and when you pay can always be negotiated.

o Negotiate! Fee and billing schedules aren’t set in stone, and the market place is competitive. So if you think the price is too high, or that you’ll need more time to pay the bill, try negotiating with the lawyer. ..preferably up front. Shop around but also remember cost should not the only factor in choosing your lawyer.

How to Lower Your Lawyer’s Legal Fees?

Every now and then, there are some reports in the newspaper about the exorbitant fees that lawyers charge and how clients are made to shell out money just to satisfy a so-called greedy lawyer. However, knowing how to hire a good lawyer can ensure that you save money on the legal fees.

There are some lawyers that have no problem giving the first appointment free of cost. When making an appointment with a lawyer for the first time, this is something you should ask. Usually it is not fair to charge a client for the initial consultation, but there are some lawyers who may charge a minimal amount. Never hire a lawyer who expects you to pay the full rate for the first appointment.

Before hiring the lawyer, make sure you completely understand the fee structure of the law firm. Make sure you know what and how you are going to be charge. This way you will not be in for a surprise when you are presented with the bill. Also, inquire about hidden costs and the billing procedure. In addition, for the fee that you are going to be paying, you should know the breakdown and how often you will have access to your lawyer. In case you are on a budget, it does not harm to find out whether the lawyer will be willing to work on a fixed rate rather than an hourly rate.

As mentioned earlier, many law firms end up having hidden charges for things like stamp duty, searches and even bank charges. Make sure you find out all these charges before hiring the lawyer.

Check with the lawyer whether there is any way the charges can be reduced. Sometimes, there are some tasks that you can do yourself without using the law firm. This will bring down the legal fees to a certain extent.

When you hire a lawyer, you would have to sign a contract or a legal document. This will give the details on the fees that would be payable to the lawyer. However, you should not sign any document without completely understanding the fee structure and payment options.

Even after a lawyer has quoted his fee, try to negotiate. If you find the fee too high or need time to pay it, make sure you negotiate it. The legal market is extremely competitive and most lawyers will be willing to compromise to a certain extent. However, do not let the cost be the determining factor when it comes to choosing a lawyer.

Tips For Reducing Legal Costs

Legal support is necessary for the protection of the citizens but there are some flaws in the law that are sometimes exploited by unscrupulous lawyers. As a result, people end up paying through their noses. In fact, rising legal costs have been affecting many people from different professions.

Many believe that the collaborations happening nationwide with certain guidelines, procedures and the strategies are the best ways to defend against the increasing legal costs. We have to change our environment in to such a way that the effort made will reduce the cost in some industries. The fact we need to accept is that the fees and the cost are rising. With some strategies and efforts, the costs can be contained and have some reward in some situations.

When you are looking for the attorney, look for one who is a leading attorney with excellent education, leadership qualities and experience. You can make informed decisions in this way. Taking an experienced and qualified attorney means doing away with unnecessary expenditure. You need to be frank also with the attorney and the legal firm. If you are not able to discuss the costs in a professional way, you will be a fix later on. An individual or a businessman can work with a lawyer who is straight forward and also honest. This will help in the reduction of legal costs, while ensuring that you get good service from your lawyer and his or her firm.

Many times, some of the information that you are charged for by a lawyer is easily available through different resources like publications, books and even the Internet. At times, you can save legal costs by finding out certain stuff yourself, especially if it is not a life and death situation. This way you will have the required information and also be saving money on legal costs.

Make sure before selecting the lawyer, you run a referral on him or her. Find out whether there are any disputes pending against the law firm or lawyer. In fact, it is always advisable to select an attorney who comes recommended through friends and family. But this is not written in stone.