How to keep legal fees down
The process of separating can be expensive. There are a few things you can do to help reduce your legal fees; these include:
- Scheduling a call with your lawyer instead of leaving messages back and forth. Since lawyers charge for listening to voice messages and returning phone calls, it can be more cost effective to schedule a time to speak with your lawyer to address your questions/concerns in one phone call.
- Being open and honest with your lawyer (remember what you tell your lawyer is confidential). If you withhold information from you lawyer your case can drag on or change course if your lawyer finds out that you did not disclose information pertinent to your case.
- Formulating realistic expectations and goals as soon as you are able. Litigating "out of principle" is costly and often results in an unsatisfactory outcome for you. Be willing to listen to your lawyer and accept his or her legal advice.
- Keeping your documents organized and accessible. The more organized you are with your documents and evidence, the less time your lawyer will likely have to spend sifting through material and thereby keeping your legal fees down.
- Preparing for all meetings with your lawyer by writing your questions down in advance so your meetings can be productive ones. Take notes during the meeting so you do not have to ask your lawyer to repeat answers that have already been provided or go over issues that have already been discussed.
- Establishing a rapport with the firm's law clerk. Often a law clerk can answer many questions you may have asked the lawyer (for example, procedural questions). Asking the law clerk, who has a lower billing rate than the lawyer, can help keep your legal fees to a minimum.
- Providing clear and concise summaries for your lawyer. Often your lawyer will require written material from you. If you provide a clear, concise and well written document, your lawyer may be able to use what you have written as a basis for his/her own document (especially if you send the document to your lawyer in word format as opposed to fax or hardcopy).
- Responding to your lawyer's requests in a timely manner, especially because your lawyer is working with deadlines. You do not want to incur the cost of additional follow up emails from your lawyer because he or she is waiting on your response.
- Choosing an experienced lawyer.