6 Ways to Limit Expenses
Legal fees are high. There are, however, ways to limit your exposure to unnecessary or unnecessarily expensive legal costs. Here are six of them:
- Make notes! Remember your attorney charges by the hour – effectively, by the minute. Save time – make notes before consulting or calling by telephone. This serves the dual purpose of ensuring that you have dealt with everything that was on your mind and that you stick to the point.
- Don’t waste time. If tempted to chat about non-legal issues, ask, “can you stop the clock for a couple of minutes? I want to tell you about something of interest.” At the same time, you ought to be keeping a note of the duration of calls and consultations. Bear in mind however that it is perfectly reasonable for a professional to add the few minutes that it might take to make notes after the discussion, or for the purpose of checking on the issue that you have called about. Thus, the exact time of the telephone discussion, might not be an accurate record of the chargeable time.
- Don’t make unnecessary calls. Write a short email. This can take a long time, especially if you carefully remove unnecessary material and stick to the point. Writing something brief takes a lot longer than writing something at length. However, it is your time and you will not be charged for doing it. Attorneys are quick readers and usually respond in a typed or dictated response pretty quickly, too. Then you have a record of both sides of the discussion. And you have saved time and money.
- Get an agreed rate. Ask exactly how fees are charged and make sure that you understand the process. Get a reduced fee for the first, or one-off consultation, which must be paid for at the time of the consultation. Most lawyers will agree to give a reduced fee for this “exploratory” session, particularly where payment is made immediately.
- Ask for a discounted rate; usually, a supplier will agree to negotiate the rate, to some extent. All professionals are under pressure. Even my doctor told me recently, that she negotiates her professional fees and frequently gives patients discounts.
- Don’t go to the lawyer with lowest charge-out rate you can find. Lawyers, like all professionals, are not equal; experience is worth far more than academic qualifications. Times are hard, so just about any lawyer will tell you that he or she can of course deal with your divorce, parental dispute, marriage contract or any other family law matter. Most of them are wrong – we see incorrect or unrealistic content in court documents or correspondence every day. Make sure you are being represented by someone who is really qualified to help you, or your “savings” will be an illusion!
17 April 2018
Family Law Specialist lawyers and mediators; Divorce; Parents & Children; Grandparents; Cohabitation; Curators; Maintenance; International Divorce; Domestic Violence and more.