Everyone likes to save money. That can especially come into play for many people when they are dealing with hiring a lawyer or a law firm. As we have talked about in our other article about the cost and prices for a divorce and other legal services our firm offers for people, here are some tips to further explain how those prices can be affected and be kept at a minimum.
First, there must be a disclaimer given: In almost every single case, the actual issue at hand that has caused you to hire a lawyer is usually far more important than money. If that is the case, then you really need to get advice from a lawyer or law firm that you trust concerning your specific situation. Don’t just assume that saving money is the best—because that is not always the case.
Having said that, here are a few areas where you can work with the lawyer or law firm that you hired to save on some costs.
1. Trust Your Lawyer
The first and foremost way is to trust your lawyer and the staff working on your case. Trust them when they tell you they are working on your case and will let you know any updates that they have. If you trust that advice, it will save you the cost of too much communication with your lawyer or the staff working on your case that could be additional costs which add up to use up your retainer faster. Usually you do not need to call them and ask for updates or request time to discuss your case just because you feel it has been a while for you. We understand that this is sometimes a difficult process because of our human nature to talk and figure things out, but we have found a that having a trusting relationship with clients significantly cuts down on time spent on the phone or in meetings, thereby decreasing the cost for you.
2. Electronic Communications
Another way to save on costs is to be open and able to receive electronic communications. Examples of this would be the ability to scan documents and email them to your lawyer or law firm and likewise receive documents electronically. Of course, this requires you to have a password protected email where those confidential communications can occur. If you do so, this will take much less time for your lawyer and staff to communicate with you than having to deal with hard copies of every communication and every document. Many law firms in this day and age take any hard copy document you give them and scan it into your electronic file. If you already have done some of that for them and send it to them electronically, then you are saving steps, which saves you money.
3. Decide How Important Your Issue Is
Here is where the disclaimer really comes into play given at the beginning of this article. Sometimes it isn’t worth asking for less custody, or choosing to resolve a case at mediation, or not contesting the case at all, just because you’re afraid of what the final cost could be. If it’s custody of your children or financial decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life or for years ahead, those aren’t usually the best decisions to make just because you want to save a few hundred or even thousands of dollars. So again, it is vital to have a good working relationship with a lawyer and law firm you trust to give you that advice, to know when to take a stand and pay, and when to walk away and save your money for another day.
4. Try Mediation
Finally, as mentioned briefly, most lawyers who have experience with family law will talk to you about mediation. And mediation is always a less costly alternative then going to court in front of a judge or jury especially. Mediation has a fee of usually $200 to $350 an hour and will usually last two to four hours, but that cost is generally split between both parties (unless one party has a significantly different financial situation than the other). Mediation can resolve the case and get quite a few issues resolved while only costing about $500 to $1000 in attorney’s fees versus the $2000 or more that it would cost to have and prepare for a court hearing and many thousands more to prepare for a jury trial.
As always you are welcome to talk to a representative at your office to discuss any of these money and cost saving tips as you work and hire a lawyer or a law firm to handle your case.