When we needed the services of an attorney, we were shocked at the first consultation. The reason was the high attorney fees. We wanted something simple – estate planning – and it was frightening to see how much the attorney would charge us for it. This prompted us to find ways to reduce attorney fees and we were surprised to learn that there were in fact many ways.
Tips to Reduce Attorney Fees
After speaking to several law firms, we decided to go with Turnbull Hill Lawyers. Not only did the firm guide us on reducing their fees, it also guided us correctly. This impressed us immensely. Here is what we learned about minimizing attorney fees.
Fee Arrangement: Attorneys use different types of fee structure. They can work on flat fee, hourly rate or contingency basis. There is no doubt that hourly rate is the most expensive, as you are billed for the time the attorney devotes on your case. It is always best to ask the attorney if he or she would be willing to work on a flat fee basis. This involves paying flat fee in addition to any other expenses the attorney may incur.
If you are filing a claim, the attorney may be willing to work on a contingency basis. Here, it is best to try and negotiate the percentage of the fee. Many times, attorneys are more than willing to reduce the percentage. Even a marginal reduction can go a long way in reducing the fee.
If the attorney charges by the hour, you want to check out the attorney’s experience. A less experienced attorney will spend longer doing research and working on your behalf. Furthermore, a well-established law firm will charge more than a smaller law firm. It is best to compare hourly rates of different law firms and find out what is included in it.
Get Billed for the Work Done: If you are hiring a lawyer on an hourly basis, it is worthwhile to check with the lawyer whether you can be billed for the precise amount of work that the lawyer does on your behalf. There are some law firms that charge a tenth or quarter of an hour. Such a lawyer will charge you 15 minutes for a 2-minute call. If you can convince the attorney to charge just for the time devoted to your case, the savings will be immense.
Give the Attorney Documents Quickly: Make it a point to get across any document the attorney needs quickly. Do not give documents or information that is not relevant to your case, as the attorney will spend more time poring over it, thereby billing you unnecessarily. Also, if you get a call or letter from the attorney’s office, respond to it as quickly as possible. Failure to do so will result in the office following up with you and this will add to the fees.
Try and Do Work on Your Case: Things like getting records, making copies or putting the documents in order requires time and manpower. This is where you can chip in and reduce the amount your attorney charges you. We actually made copies of every document the attorney required and this helped us reduce our attorney fees.
Keep Meetings Short and Fruitful: Before meeting your lawyer, prepare a list of the things you want to discuss. This will help you stay focused and prevent you from deviating. Try and keep the meeting short and productive to reduce the amount of time you spend with the lawyer. As a result, the billable hours will reduce. Make notes during the meeting, so that you can follow through promptly on items after the meeting.
Call Your Lawyer Only When Needed: Call your attorney only when it really matters. Do not use your lawyer as your therapist, as this will result in more billable hours. Stick to your case and speak to the lawyer only when you have a question or concern about the case.
Other than these tips to reduce attorney fees, it is also important to choose a lawyer, who is experienced in handling cases like yours. This will ensure prompt service and also reduce the number of hours to draft a document or do research.