In these economic times we are often asked by the client how they can help their legal case along, or control the costs. Here are a couple of tips to manage your legal experience:
Many lawyers send engagement/fee letters. They set out the terms of the representation–basically what you pay, when fees are due, retainers, etc. If you accept the terms, typically you’ll sign and send the fee agreement back with the retainer (if one is requested). This will help you understand the hourly fees up front, billing policies, and when bills are to be paid.
Keep in mind that if a lawyer is part of a firm or group of lawyers, there may be additional lawyers or paralegals who work on your matter. This serves several purposes–to keep costs down because work is done more efficiently and to make sure you get the best services since none of us are not experts in all areas of the law.
Remember that your lawyer knows nothing about you or your situation when you call them. Ask what you can provide to help the situation along, get them up to speed, etc. The more you can provide in a nice concise package, the better prepared your lawyer will be to deal with your issue, and the less it will cost you in fees.
When your lawyer asks for documents or calls, you can manage expenses by promptly responding. You save money because the lawyer doesn’t have to open up the file and become reacquainted with the issues 3 weeks later.
If something needs attention by a certain date, say so clearly up front. Last minute rushes are rarely efficient for anyone, thus increasing costs.
Be honest. Your lawyer cannot properly advocate for you if you do not tell them the whole truth, the first time. It will also cost more in the long run if the lawyer has to revisit strategy, redraft documents or backtrack because new information is supplied late in the deal.
If you want further information about managing your legal experience or hiring an attorney, please contact us.