Lawyers are known for their outlandish fees. It’s true that an attorney can end up costing you thousands, or even tens of thousands, but it isn’t a guarantee.
When you hire a lawyer, you’re actually much more likely to discover that it’s not quite as expensive as you think.
It’s normal to feel uncertain about what to expect during a legal consultation. It can be hard to organize your thoughts and know what to bring, but it can also be nerve-racking to wonder how much it’s going to cost.
The good news is that you aren’t likely to pay a dime. That’s because most attorneys offer free consultations.
Most attorneys want to optimize the time you spend together because they offer consultations free of charge. They will tell you exactly what to bring, and if you ask, they can tell you what to expect during your meeting.
Make sure you follow their recommendations and bring a list of questions to ask. The more you can get out in the open during a free consultation, the less you have to bring up during subsequent meetings that may cost you money.
One of the questions you should ask your attorney during your free consultation is whether or not they offer contingency fees.
A contingency fee is only payable if there’s a favorable result in your case. It is most commonly seen in personal injury cases, but some attorneys also use it for things like closing an estate after a loved one has passed. It means you don’t have to pay your attorney at all during the process. Attorney fees are subtracted from a settlement after an injury or the sale of property in an estate.
It’s still a good idea to know what their contingency fee is, but because you don’t have to pay out of pocket, it means you can get the representation you need without worrying about the cost.
You Can Do a Lot of Leg Work For Them
You have a lot more control over how much you’re charged than you think you do, even if your attorney charges by the hour.
If you act as an information gatherer and you obtain, review, and organize the appropriate information and documents, it means your attorney doesn’t have to do it for you. And if they aren’t doing it, they aren’t billing you for the time it would take to organize all that information on your behalf.
Possible information you can organize on your own so your lawyer doesn’t have to includes:
- Income tax returns and bank statements
- Birth certificates and other pieces of personal identification
- Will or power of attorney
- List of witnesses with contact information
- Healthcare documentation
- Anything else that could pertain to your case
Not sure what you need? Just ask! It costs a lot less for your attorney to give you a list of what you need than it does to have them do it for you.
Those With an Assistant May Cost Less
When the average lawyer charges over $390 per hour, you want to make sure you’re not on the clock for things that don’t really require your attorney’s time.
That’s where your attorney’s assistant comes in.
Assistants don’t bill by the hour. If you know what they can help you with, you can avoid asking your attorney and being charged for their time.
For example, you could ask your lawyer’s assistant if you have questions about scheduling or if they can help you get copies of important documents. That way you can get the answers you need without contacting your attorney directly.
It’s up to You to Stay on Topic
Attorneys are there for us during some of the most sensitive times in our lives. It’s normal for people to vent during their meeting with a lawyer, but lawyers aren’t therapists. They may lend an ear, but they can’t help you work through problems. However, they will still charge you.
It’s up to you to stay on topic. Focus on the details of your case, leave the complaints and emotions for a therapist, and you can save money on attorney fees.
Attorneys can end up being very expensive, but that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to spend an arm and a leg on their services. If you’re careful and follow the tips on this list, working with an attorney can end up being more affordable than you think.