How to Keep Your Legal Fees Within Your Desirable Budget
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Published by TOP4 Team
The cost of receiving expert advice on legal matters can be prohibitive. How can you lessen costs and keep your legal expenses within your desirable budget?
Do you really need a solicitor?
First and foremost, check if you actually need a solicitor. Can your issue be resolved in a consumer protection department, small claims tribunal, or with mediation?
Seek fee assistance.
Verify whether you’re entitled to legal aid. Even if you’ve been denied legal aid, your state's law society may give details of whether you qualify for a “pro bono” scheme for individuals who require legal assistance but are unable to pay their legal expenses.
If you do need to engage a solicitor, make sure that you’re properly prepared for your meeting. Jot down your questions, prepare a summary of your issues and bring relevant documents. Some solicitors' first consultation is free of charge. At the consultation, they’ll give you an estimate of the possible costs and outcome of your case. This gives you the chance to evaluate whether you’re satisfied with their representation and you consider going ahead with the action to be worthwhile.
Look for other alternatives and get a few quotes. Make sure that you’re given a written estimate and breakdown of all the calculated costs for you to be able to accurately differentiate quotes. This also enables you to take action if you’re not satisfied with fees charged when the legal matter is finished, as you can refer the matter to a cost assessor.
Legal experts charge varying rates according to their seniority. They charge for the time spent on a case, including phone calls and travel. Don't waste the time of a senior partner for an enquiry that can be answered by the secretary. Attend meetings at their office so you don’t get charged for the time taken by them in travelling with you.
Settle it out of court.
If a court is involved, it may sometimes be advisable to settle the court case. You’re paying a professional to represent you. Let them do what they're supposed to do, be honest and tell them everything that might be relevant for your case and remember that their time is money.
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