Ways to Save on Legal Fees
Created by FindLaw's team
of attorney writers and editors.
The cost of legal fees can be rather expensive for many. Luckily, there are simple things you can do to help save money on legal fees over time - such as choosing the right attorney and doing some of the leg work up front. Additionally, while having a solid understanding of the type of legal fees is always a good idea, it will also help ensure a good working relationship with your attorney and, in turn, help your bottom line.
Below are six ways to lower your legal fees and reduce the overall costs of legal representation.
- Choose Your Lawyer Wisely - You have a choice when it comes to selecting a lawyer, and there are several types of law firms, from which to choose. You may have to do a little homework, but choosing the right attorney can save you hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars in legal fees. Why? Because for starters, you'll be involved in a working relationship with your lawyer, and the more comfortable you feel working with him or her, the smoother the process (not to mention avoiding the need to hire a new attorney mid-way through the representation.)Secondly, the choice to hire a solo practitioner or small law firm lawyer can often help you lower your overall legal costs since those fees are often lower than the fees of large law firm lawyers.
- Ask for a Flat Fee Arrangement - There are several common types of legal fee arrangements used by lawyers, including hourly rates, contingency fees, and flat fee arrangements. If your case is relatively simple or routine, such as a will or an uncontested divorce, you should consider asking for a flat-fee agreement based on a predetermined amount to help lower your legal fees. That way, you'll know exactly what you are paying for and you can budget accordingly without any surprises.
- Do Some of the Work Yourself - People often mistakenly believe that once they hire a lawyer their work is done. Depending on the nature of your case, you can save on legal fees throughout the duration of your legal representation by doing some of the work on your own. This may include prep work such as gathering any necessary documents and providing the attorney with as much relevant information as possible concerning your legal matter. Be sure to check with your lawyer beforehand, however, to avoid doing work that will duplicate or hinder the attorney's progress.
- Limit Phone Calls and Emails to Your Lawyer - The saying "time is money, money is time" applies equally to legal fees. When your lawyer takes a call or responds to an email on your behalf, you might end up paying for the time spent (if on an hourly plan, for example.) Instead, you can help lower your legal fees by providing all the necessary information up front or at periodic checkpoints, and scheduling a set more meaningful meeting, instead of making frequent, but unnecessary phone or email contact. Learn additional tips for reducing your legal costs and expenses.
- Consider Alternatives to Hiring a Lawyer - Some legal matters may be handled alone or with the help of non-lawyers, such as disputes over small sums of money or divorces between couples with no assets or children. Before spending thousands of dollars for legal fees for small legal matters, consider alternatives to hiring a lawyer, such as mediation or self-representation.