12 Mar 3 Ways to Make Your Lawyer Affordable
Are you worried about the costs of your case? You have more control over the bill than you realize. Save money on your lawyer. Here are three pointers for keeping legal costs down.
(1) Decide what you need
What do you need? If you are involved in contentious litigation, then what you need is a strong advocate. You need an aggressive attorney who will fight for your rights, assets, and future. My strong, stubborn advocacy is a thorn in the side to many, but a personality trait that I consider a win for my clients. This is a traditional client-attorney relationship and one in which I treasure.
But people in general are more exposed both to information and to the Court process. You may not need a standard representation. You might only need legal help for a few areas, which I call a la carte lawyering. This new approach to practicing law gives the client more control and saves money overall. It isn’t suited for every legal need, but it is useful when appropriate.
I personally work with my clients in their initial consultation to narrow down what they need from me as their Attorney, and what they can do on their own. For instance, lets say you want to file for divorce. It isn’t quite “no contest” because you and your spouse are arguing over the financial split from a certain asset. Getting a lawyer is the right thing to do. But you and your spouse probably agree upon more than you disagree. If the agreement can be set in advance and the scope of the litigation can be limited to certain issues (like the asset that you are arguing over), then you will save a lot of money.
(2) Craft Your Payment Plan Wisely
Nobody works for free and your Lawyer is no exception. I strive to craft payment arrangements to suit the needs of individual clients. Sometimes that means a higher escrow, sometimes a lower escrow. Sometimes the time is billed by the “billable hour” and sometimes the case or service is a flat fee. The flat fee could be split up into a defined payment plan.
One thing is for certain: Discounts are available for paying on time. Interest on collection fees are assessed for paying late or not paying at all. Make sure you understand the scope of your financial obligations in full before signing on for my services. You can take advantage of my flexibility to craft the perfect, most cost-effective plan for your case.
(3) Reduce Waste
The policy in my office is that all phone calls are returned the same business day they are received. I am glued to my e-mail, like most people nowadays, and respond promptly. With the ability to communicate constantly at the tip of your fingers, it can be easy to rack up wasteful billable hours. I encourage open communication, but also advise my clients to use their time wisely. Make sure that you keep your e-mails focused on the issue that you want resolved.
Another way to reduce waste is to follow through. Many times your Attorney will need paperwork from you- financial statements, releases, copies of old cases. The list is potentially endless. Providing the information promptly not only saves time from having me check on it, but it also keeps me from having to spend the time gathering it myself…time might ultimately be charged for. Be an active participant in your case!