Let’s be honest. One of the single biggest factors, if not the biggest factor, that prevents people from seeking legal representation is the cost. But what people sometimes fail to consider is that by not obtaining proper legal advice and representation, their matter can often end up being more expensive in the long-term. With that said, here are five ways to reduce your legal fees.
Being involved in a court case of any kind can be incredibly stressful so it’s understandable if you are anxious. However, it’s important that you don’t bombard your lawyer with constant requests for updates by email or phone. A qualified and experienced legal professional will keep you fully informed of any relevant developments. Another point to keep in mind is that a good lawyer will also welcome questions about specific issues or concerns.
Time is money for you and your lawyer, especially if they are billing by the hour. You can minimise the amount of time spent in meetings with your lawyer by being prepared. But what does this actually mean?
Simply put, it means you should do the following:
- Ask your lawyer what, if anything, you should bring to the meeting, and act accordingly.
- If you bring a stack of unorganised papers, you or your lawyer will end up wasting valuable time sorting through it during the conference. Once you know what your lawyer needs, organise the documents by subject matter or date. If you need to keep the originals, make the copies yourself.
- Think carefully about what you’d like to discuss with your lawyer prior to the meeting. Put those thoughts in writing (a list is a good idea), and don’t forget to bring your notes to the meeting or conference.
- Be sure to arrive at the meeting on time, or even a few minutes early. By doing so you will give yourself time to catch your breath. If need be, you can use the time to jot down a few last-minute thoughts. This will also allow you to make the most of the available time that you do have with your lawyer.
Ask your lawyer if you can do some of your own research
More often than not, lawyers must devote a significant amount of time to researching various aspects of their clients’ cases. While they are well-equipped to do so, there might be some factual research that you can do, too. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might be able to help by locating information or witnesses. You may also be able to create a timeline or draft statements regarding the facts of your case.
As long as you don’t bombard your lawyer with tons of completely irrelevant material, your lawyer will probably appreciate your efforts. Better yet, you’ll effectively reduce your legal fees because your lawyer won’t have to do the research.
Don’t let your emotions get the best of you
Being a party to a legal matter is an emotional experience. It doesn’t matter if you are involved in a business dispute, a family matter or any other civil or criminal matter. You may be angry, frustrated, stressed, overwhelmed or frightened. However, it’s important that you don’t let your emotions get the best of you, especially when it comes to making important decisions. If you do, you may make choices that delay the resolution of the matter (costing you more in legal fees), or cause the court to award the other party their costs. In a criminal matter, making the wrong choice based on your emotions could mean you have to pay more in fines or spend more time in jail.
Be honest with your lawyer, no matter what
Don’t be surprised if there are times when your lawyer asks you a question that you’d really rather not answer. Depending on the question, you may feel embarrassed or concerned that it could harm your case.
But when all is said and done, your lawyer’s job is to help you. Failing to disclose important information or details when asked could not only unnecessarily delay your case (resulting in more fees and costs) but it could even wreck your case completely (meaning you’ll just end up wasting your money).
Consequently, it is extremely important that you are always open and honest with your lawyer. If you don’t feel like this is the case with your current lawyer, you may have to switch legal representatives so you can work with someone that makes you more comfortable.
At Jones + Associates, our clients always come first. We also believe in providing honest, efficient and cost-effective advice. To help with the costs of representation, ask us about fixed fees for our services.