As everyone knows, the only people that actually win in legal cases is the lawyers. Attorneys don’t come cheap, and regardless of whether you win or lose a case, you can guarantee that your lawyer will go home with a sizeable pay packet. However, there are a few things you can do if you want to reduce those costs, and we’re going to go through a few of them with you today – read on to find out more.
The first step is to compare pricing from in your local area. While most lawyers will advertise their hourly rates of prices, it’s all negotiable to an extent. So if one attorney is too much for you, but you really want to use them, feel free to shop around. Once you have found a suitable rate, go back to your preferred lawyer and see if you can strike a deal. While there are no guarantees, you can certainly try your best, and it won’t do you any harm. It can be difficult to develop the mindset of haggling with a lawyer, but, ultimately, they are just a business that needs clients – so don’t be afraid to chance your arm.
Have an attractive proposition
It’s worth thinking about what you could do for a lawyer’s career by using their services. If you have a compelling case, for example, many lawyers will consider working for you if it brings them the respect they crave from their peers, or helps forge a name for their business. Up-and-coming lawyers are ideal for this, of course, although you have to balance the price differential with their level of experience. If an attorney loves your case and wants to work with you, they can often reduce their fees by a significant amount.
Request flat fees
As everyone knows, the cost of hiring a lawyer can be a lot when you are paying per hour. Every time you phone them, email them, or pop into their office will be billable. But there are a few ways of getting a better deal, including requesting a flat fee. This tactic involves paying a single amount of money for the entire case. Of course, paying for a flat fee often means having those funds available, but some firms might be willing to allow you to pay once your compensation or award comes through. If you have a compelling argument, it is often worth your while, particularly if you know you will be in contact with your attorney a lot over the course of the case.
Check for minimum billing
Attorneys charge their clients in many different ways. Some will charge as much as a tenth of an hour, while other will charge for a quarter – and maybe even half – an hour. It means that a one-minute phone call to your attorney could end up with a half-hour billing, which, undoubtedly, will soon stack up to a significant amount of money. So, your best bet is to find a lawyer who bills as little as possible and only for the work they do, rather than minimum billing. It’s worth talking to every attorney in your community to see if you can thrash out a deal, as some will be more open to suggestion than others.
As a rule, you will end up paying slightly more for a contingency fee, which you will pay once you have won your case. It is, however, an ideal approach if you have no savings to invest in your case right from the very beginning. Of course, you need to have cast-iron evidence that you will win if you want to attract a contingency fee lawyer and get the best prices. Ultimately, if a case is open and shut in their eyes, there will be less work for them to do so they might be willing to accept a smaller percentage.
The longer your attorney waits for you to supply them with relevant information, the more they will charge you – it’s as simple as that. Giving them lots of useless info will only mean you have to pay them to sort it out, and it’s a complete waste of money. Be speedy, too – if you don’t call back promptly, for example, they will only call you again, which means more charges added on as you go. If a lawyer has to call you three or four times, and then needs to send a letter because you haven’t responded, you can see how quickly your costs will spiral.
Work for your attorney
The more work you can do for your lawyer, the lower your fees will be. You can make copies of documents for them, collect evidence, and even obtain records – all of these take up a lawyer’s time, and they will be happy for you to step in on their behalf. As long as you are careful to get it right, it should save you a significant sum of money from your final bill.
Be ready to learn
If your lawyer has to spend every meeting going over all the information about your case time and time again, guess what. That’s right – you will be footing the bill. Listen, learn, and soak up everything they say – and do some homework, too. The more you understand the intricacies of your case, the fewer questions you will need to ask. And that saves your lawyer time – and you a lot of money. It’s worth taking notes during meetings, and also before them – write down everything you need to ask to keep things on track and enjoy more productive meetings with your attorney.
Question the need for communication
Finally, every time you feel the need to call or contact your lawyer, put the brakes on. Ask yourself whether it is really necessary or, indeed, relevant. Or, collect all your thoughts and save it for a single email or phone call, rather than ringing them every day with new information. Don’t forget, every time they open a message or answer the phone, they could be billing you, so only contact your attorney when absolutely necessary.