This is a contributed post from Ellie Jo.
When you find yourself dealing with legal matters, you’ll quickly find out how expensive the process can get. Read on now and find out about all the things you need to know to save on legal expenses.
Don’t Try to Go it Alone
First of all, you should avoid the temptation to go through this process alone. The idea of defending and representing yourself in a legal context might seem pretty easy and straightforward. In reality is more complicated than what we see on TV.
Make sure that you are represented by someone who really knows the ins and outs of the legal system. That person is not you. That knowledge and values and experience are more valuable than you could ever realize if you’re not someone who’s worked in the world of law.
Find a Lawyer That Represents Value
Of course, you want to keep costs down. Not all of us can afford to hire the very top-end lawyers who represent the rich and famous.
But at the same time, you don’t want to find yourself hiring a cheap layer who is inexperienced and doesn’t really know what he or she is doing. That’s why the word value is so important here.
Be Organized, It Will Save Spending On Your Lawyer’s Time
When you’re working with your lawyer, one of the most important things you can do is keep things organized. It’s not all down to your lawyer to keep documents, evidence, and paperwork in order. You yourself need to play an active role in keeping things structured and organized.
After all, if you’re not the one doing it, your lawyer will have to spend more of their time on that stuff. They will charge you for that time. One thing you need to understand about hiring a lawyer is that time will always cost you.
Stick to the Subjects That Matter
Another way in which some clients often end up wasting their lawyer’s time is by getting off-topic. Don’t call them to discuss things that aren’t important. When you do call them avoid tangents that aren’t really relevant to much at all.
As we’ve already discussed, their time will be billed; this is their job after all so they’re going to need to be paid. Stick to the subjects that actually matter. This way you avoid paying for time that’s not meaningful or purposeful with regards to your legal case.
See if You Can Pay in Installments
Many lawyers will give you the option of paying your legal fees in installments, and that might be something that ultimately helps you to save money. At the very least, it should make it possible for you to make your money go further for longer and to make sure that you’re not putting yourself in a position where you run out of money too fast.
You can then gradually work and pay off your legal fees over time if you need to. It might be a good idea to only hire a lawyer that offers that kind of payment plan option.
Ask if Fees Can be Capped Before Work Starts
There are also lawyers that will allow you to cap your fees before work actually starts. That’s why it’s a good idea to discuss this option with the lawyer you’re thinking of hiring before you finalize any arrangements.
That way, if something unexpected happens and you need extra assistance, you’ll know that the amount of money you’ll be paying will be capped. It takes away some of the stress and worry that often comes with watching your legal fees slowly mount up. When they’re capped, you don’t have to worry about that.
Understand Which Fees You’ll be Liable to Pay
There are often hidden fees and fees that you might not have realized you had to pay when you’re hiring a lawyer or legal team. It’s important to get as much clarity as possible when you’re trying to understand what you’re going to have to pay for and what you’re ultimately going to be liable to pay in the end.
So if there are any costs at all that you’re not really sure about and don’t understand, just make sure that you ask your lawyer about them and seek clarity as early into the process as possible.
Understand the Terms of the Service Too
Another thing that you’ll need to understand is the terms of service that you’ve agreed to with your lawyer. You want to know what you’re getting into and what you’re actually getting for the money that you’re going to be paying to your lawyer.
What you don’t want is to sign an agreement and then only find out later that you’re not actually entitled to all of the services that you expected to get from your lawyer.
Try to Cutback in Other Areas
If you’re going to be paying out a lot of money in legal expenses, it’s important to think about how you might balance your finances a little better as you enter the process.
You don’t want to run out of cash or face problems later on. Instead, think about how you can temporarily change your lifestyle to make it a little more conservative in terms of your spending. Maybe you could cut down on some of the non-essential spending that you’d normally do. It might be a little painful at first but it’ll be worth it.
Keep Personal Records of Time Spent Communicating with Your Lawyer
Keeping personal records of the time you spend communicating with your lawyer does not mean that you don’t trust them or that you think they’re going to lie to you when it comes to billing.
It’s simply the case that having a definite backup and your own detailed information about the amount of time that you spend talking about the case will ensure everything is correct.
And if you do feel that you’ve been overcharged, later on, you can dispute it with evidence of your own. But that probably won’t be necessary; most lawyers are not trying to rip off their clients.
Focus on Proving Your Innocence as Quickly as Possible
It’s important to remember that the best way to put an end to any kind of legal issue is to prove your innocence and resolve it. If you know that you’re innocent and you have a good case, you might want to look into the basics of how to prove innocence in cases relevant to you.
By putting things to an end sooner rather than later, you’ll put yourself in a much better position in the long run. Things tend to drag on when there’s no certainty and you can’t show that you really are innocent.
Keep Track Of Expenses
It also makes sense to track the expenses that you’re going to be covering for your lawyer. And depending on the situation and the nature of the expenses, you might be to keep them to a minimum or at least reduce them a little.
Having them travel to you rather than you traveling to them, for instance, will increase the number of expenses you have to cover. So make the effort to visit them and things like that if you want to keep costs low.
Know When the Time is Right to Reach a Compromise or Settlement
Finally, you should remember that there’s rarely any point in fighting a legal battle for the sake of it. When you do that, you just end up throwing money away week after week.
If the opportunity arises for you to take a compromise or find a settlement with the opposing party, you should think about whether it makes sense to accept it and simply put things to bed once and for all.
Winning a legal battle is never easy, but it’s important to plan things out carefully and not to overstretch yourself financially. That’s something that lots of people end up doing and then have regrets about it later. But if you make the most of the tips and advice outlined above, you’ll be able to cut out a lot of that wasted cash and keep things more affordable.