Learn How to Save Money when Hiring a Lawyer

You might not need a lawyer during ordinary days. If you are a business owner or you plan to buy a property, hiring a lawyer is imperative. 

Here’s the thing: legal fees can be expensive. In fact, the average annual salary for lawyers is at $118,000 or approximately $9,847 per month – and it is increasing every year. 

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Still, don’t be intimidated by those figures, especially the up to $450 per hour rate. There are still many ways you can save money when hiring a lawyer and here’s what you need to do:

Choose your lawyer wisely

Just because you need them, it doesn’t mean that you can’t choose them. To save on legal fees, make sure you go for a lawyer that not only specializes on your case but also understands your cause and someone you are comfortable dealing with. You can also go for lawyers who are solo practitioners or belong to a smaller firm since they charge less compared to those who are part of big firms. Ask for recommendations as well since this could also help lower the fees. 

To help you better, you may visit gemancriminaldefense.com to find a defense lawyer to find the best fit for you. 

Discuss and negotiate 

Don’t be embarrassed to talk about fees, especially during the initial interview, which is usually free. You need to know what you are paying for, the lawyer’s billing practices, inclusions and exclusions, and payment scheme among many others. This will give you an idea on whether the person you are hiring for legal services is fit to your budget. 

Then, go ahead and negotiate. If you want to save money when hiring a lawyer, don’t just accept the lawyer’s proposition, especially for hourly rates. Instead, offer alternatives, compromise, and be honest about your budget. You can also examine the case and see if attorney’s fees can be awarded since this will save you money as well. 

Limit phone calls and emails

This is applicable if you agreed on hourly payment scheme. Keep in mind that “time is money,” which means every minute spent answering your calls and messages equate to costs that you have to pay. 

If you want to save more, make sure you provide all the necessary information needed in your case, including documents, timeline, and narratives, as early as possible. The more informed your lawyer is, the easier for him to devise strategies to help you win your case. 

Schedule meetings to keep you updated as well. During meetings, make sure it is meaningful, relevant, and related to the case matter. This way, you don’t have to be billed for the hour you spent talking about something that is not related to the case.  

Help your lawyer to lower your costs 

Your lawyer knows the law, but this doesn’t mean you cannot help. You can do some things to help your lawyer such as making necessary phone calls, delivering needed documents, or even doing factual investigation. It could be tiring on your part, but if your lawyer agrees, you can save a big amount. 

Consider contingency fee agreement

This is ideal for cases involving sexual harassment, negligence, physical injury, wrongful termination, and racial discrimination. 

Under the contingency fee agreement, the lawyer will work on your case without charge unless you win. Once there is judgment, your lawyer will take a percentage from the award, which is often pegged at 33 percent. 

Contingency fee sounds appealing, but be careful on other fees associated to your case. You might be asked to pay for filing fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses, which are not covered by the agreement. Ask about these fees first and then negotiate the terms of payment. 

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Respond quickly

You can negotiate all you want, but do you really want to know how you can lower your costs? Make sure you work closely and cooperatively with your lawyer. 

What you can do is to stay involved in the case as much as you can. Your lawyer should consult you first before requiring the need for certain witnesses or documents, which often equates to additional costs. Always respond to your attorney’s requests for information, especially when deadlines are involved. Otherwise, delay could lead to additional expenses that you have to shoulder. 

Check the billing statement

By this time, you and your lawyer already agreed on the payment scheme and billing schedule. He sent you a billing statement, which enumerated every correspondence and appropriate fees. 

Don’t take it as it is. Make an effort to review the statement and don’t be embarrassed to contest or clarify matters that you think should not be included in the bill. Any overcharges could be an oversight by your lawyer, so make sure to clarify. Check if there is any increase in rates, which is not included in the agreement. Otherwise, you will pay more than what the lawyer actually rendered. 
   
Hiring a lawyer can be costly, but this doesn’t mean you cannot do anything to lower the rates. Take note of these tips to save more without compromising the lawyer’s quality of work.

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