Reduce Attorney Fees – 7 Strategies That Can Save You a Bundle

No one likes to pay excessive legal fees, but few clients know the simple steps they can take to reduce attorney fees. This article contains seven strategies that can save you a bundle in attorney fees.

1. Avoid Unscrupulous Attorneys. Most attorneys are dedicated professionals who take great pride in their work and serving the best interests of their clients. Unfortunately, there are some really rotten ones out there that give the legal profession a bad reputation. Before hiring an attorney, learn about their reputation in the legal community. Avoid unscrupulous attorneys who have a reputation for doing unnecessary work, transforming simple legal procedures into complex ordeals, and making every dispute exceptionally acrimonious – all designed to maximize the attorney fees.

2. Understand How Attorneys Charge. Attorneys typically charge clients an hourly rate, flat fee or contingency fee. The type of case will largely determine how the attorney will charge for their services. For example, an attorney representing a personal injury victim in an auto accident case will typically charge a contingency fee (i. e., one-third of the recovery). An attorney representing an individual in a divorce or criminal proceedings may charge a flat fee. A business law attorney will charge a corporate client an hourly fee to negotiate a contractual relationship and draft the agreement.

3. Initial Consultation. The initial consultation is the place to explain your legal problem to the attorney, state your desired outcome, and ask five specific questions that will help reduce attorney fees. First, what is the attorney’s initial assessment of your problem? Second, what steps would the attorney recommend to achieve your desired outcome? Next, how does the attorney charge for representation in your type of case? Fourth, what action can the client take to control the cost of legal services? Finally, if you retain the lawyer, what is the next step in the process?

4. Get A Second Opinion. If you are uncomfortable with one attorney’s assessment of your case or have misgivings about their representation, seek a second opinion. There are many different ways to approach a legal problem. It is important that you establish a comfort zone when you retain an attorney and have confidence in their approach to your legal problem.

5. Understand The Attorney-Client Agreement. The Attorney-Client Agreement is the legal contract that defines the relationship between the attorney and client including a thorough explanation of how the attorney will be compensated and charge for expenses related to your case. For example, if the Agreement states that the attorney will charge an hourly fee, understand that every minute that the attorney spends working on your case (telephone calls, reviewing letters and emails, client meetings, etc.) will later show up on your statement.

6. Review Your Statement. Most attorneys prepare itemized statements that state how the attorney’s time was spent and provides an explanation of the expenses. Be sure to review every statement for accuracy. If you don’t understand a charge, ask for an explanation.

7. Don’t Be Unreasonable. Unreasonable clients should expect to charged accordingly. One of the most important ways for a client to reduce attorney fees is by making informed and reasonable decisions about the management of their case.

Armed with these seven simple strategies, you’ll be in a strong position to level the playing field when you hire an attorney and save a bundle on attorney fees.

Tips for Reducing Legal Costs

Legal support in this country is absolutely necessary but unfortunately, we see some seriously flawed aspects that are putting a huge strain on just about every industry. For example, malpractice lawsuits are forcing doctors out, legal costs within our school systems reduce the money spent on books, the number of law enforcement officers on the streets is cut back, and even public parks and swimming pools are shutting down, all because of increasing legal costs. The solution is very complex since it requires the involvement of everyone to bring costs under control.

One of the main problems is that many of the costs for legal counsel do not make economic sense, specifically when we look at the current tort system. In other words, payments made out to “victims” through the courts typically relate directly to the individual and not the society as a whole. Today, congress is working hard to determine what changes, if any, would boost the economy.

Most people believe that a nationwide collaboration with specific procedures, guidelines, and strategies is the best defense against the rising cost of legal costs. In other words, we need to create an environment in which a concerted effort would provide cost savings in many, if not all, industries. The truth is that litigation costs and fees are on the rise. By making sure these expenses have, a realistic and reasonable connection to risks and objectives is one way of preserving our society.

With concentrated efforts and strategies, costs could be contained but still provide the reward in appropriate situations. To improve these collaborative efforts, each person needs to consider the ways which they view things. For instance, if an entire law firm has the same concept of value, then decisions in every case are consistent, following direct strategies. This way, decisions from within the law firm are made with the same objectives in mind.

When seeking an attorney, look for a firm that has a lead attorney, someone with outstanding education, experience, and leadership. This way, informed decisions are made, resulting in the elimination of unnecessary costs that are passed down to the business owner or individual. Then, candor is essential. If certain costs cannot be discussed in a professional manner, there are problems. A business owner or individual has the right and obligation to work with an attorney that is honest and direct. This type of communication is crucial to saving money while still being provided with top-notch legal counsel.

In addition, more and more people could do some of the work themselves. Considering that public records provide significant insight, many times, information could be obtained by the business owner or individual involved with a lawsuit rather than a legal team, thus cutting significant costs. For information that would need legal support, some things could be handled by a legal aid or paralegal, again reducing costs. The bottom line is that while we need lawyers and the valuable services offered, being creative in the way information is obtained directly to a lawsuit could mean significant savings to most industries.

Credit Card Merchant Fees – Reduce Merchant Fees Without Changing Processors

Credit card merchant fees, which are charged to businesses by the credit card processors have been a headache for business owners for a long time. The rules that govern these fees are often several pages long and are changed, at a minimum, twice per year.

In 2008, banks raked in over $48 billion in merchant fees, mostly from small and medium businesses. Elsewhere in the world, over 44 countries have taken legal action to limit the overcharging of merchants that still is occurring in the United States.

Consequently, most business owners and cannot keep up with the ever changing landscape that their payment provider gives them, and are often being charged excess fees because they do not have the expertise to optimize their account to reduce the fees that are being charged. For a company that uses credit cards for the majority of their transactions, these excess fees can add up to literally tens of thousands of dollars on an annualized basis, costing their business dearly in the process.

The issue of fees has gotten to be so contentious that members of congress are actively working on a bill to attempt to limit these fees. Unfortunately, many banks and merchant processing companies have foreseen this eventuality and are already working on ways to circumvent this law legally to keep their lucrative fee structure in place.

To that end, merchants have banded together to attempt to stop these unfair interchange fees with a petition to lawmakers like senator Dick Durbin, who has actively taken up the cause. Because 93% of all businesses that currently have a merchant account are being overcharged, the problem has attracted the notice of prominent lawmakers.

In the meantime, there is a new way to lower a businesses merchant fees without having to switch processors or go through any changes to the normal routine of business. This new way, known as Rate Lock, allows a merchant to:

  • Lower their merchant fees, on average, between 8-20%
  • A contingency program – no upfront fees whatsoever.
  • Once fees are optimized, the account will be continuously monitored to ensure that fees do not begin to “creep” back up as rules change. Optimization is ongoing
  • An easy way to add back revenue to a company’s bottom line without increasing sales and with no upfront expense.

The fight against excessive merchant fees is sure to continue for sometime to come, as the stakes are very high in terms of dollars. In the meantime though, you do not have to stand idly by and accept these high fees. Click here to find out how to lower your merchant processing fees.