Many people are worried that the moment they consult a lawyer, the “legal clock” will start ticking and before they know it, they will have racked up a massive bill. That is simply not true. Here are a few tips to keep your legal bill to a minimum and keep your lawyer happy. You may think I have invented some of these examples, but sadly they are true!
- Agree the fee or hourly rate up front. Do not assume advice will be free or at a rate you had several years ago.
- If you are concerned about fees, ask for an update. All lawyers run time sheets and should be able to tell you right away how much is on the clock.
- Give clear instructions. Make your lawyer’s job easy-don’t just forward e-mails with the words: “See below”. The lawyer needs to be told what they are meant to be looking at and what you want them to do with the “e-mail below”. If they have to read down a great long chain of e-mails and then write back to double check with you, that will all cost money.
- Don’t leave great gaps of weeks and months between e-mails. Otherwise your lawyer will have to read back into the file to remember where they left off and that too costs money.
- Send as much detail as possible at the outset. Avoid questions such as :”I am planning to open a business. Please can you advise of legal implications.” It is like saying:” I would like a cake. Please can you bake one.” You need to say what type of cake, for how many people, whether there are any allergies, how much you want to pay, when it has to be ready for…. You get the picture!
- Remember Microsoft Word tools. If your lawyer has asked for comments on a document they have sent you, use proper tools to highlight your comments such as the “track changes” or “insert comment” facility in Microsoft Word (see the ‘Review’ tab). If your lawyer has to try and spot where you have made changes that you have typed in directly into the document, that makes the job much harder and costly.
Tags: Legal fees