Using lawyers can be expensive. Here, we explain how legal fees work and how you can control your costs if you have to use the services of a solicitor.
Know your rights
The Queensland Law Society has produced various factsheets and information pamphlets detailing solicitors’ obligations towards their clients.
Understand how you are billed
Law firms may bill clients based on time, a scale set by the legislation or some other method. It is important that you understand how the firm that is acting for you will charge you for their work.
How to control your legal fees
You should never be afraid to ask your lawyer a question, but remember that you may be charged for the lawyer or another staff member to attend to your question.
Here are a few cost-saving tips to help you control your legal fees:
1. Write down all your questions and ask them in one email or phone call
Many clients will email or telephone their lawyer every time they have a question. Consequently, the lawyer must respond to multiple emails and costs can add up. If the questions are non-urgent, put them in a draft email and send one email at the end of the day or week.
2. Be clear and succinct when asking questions
Keeping your questions short and to the point will reduce the amount of time your lawyer spends reading and answering them. You may even want to provide your lawyer with a numbered list of questions. This makes it easier for them to answer as they can refer to your numbered questions when replying.
3. Provide documents in well-organised files or folders that are clearly marked
Ensure any document you provide to your lawyer is clearly marked and can be easily identified. This applies equally to electronic and paper documents. This makes it easy for the people who are attending to your file to find what they are looking for and helps reduce your legal fees.
4. Only pursue the important matters
Your lawyer will advise you what is relevant in your matter and what is not. For example, fighting over a $50 horse statue that was a gift from your father is noble, but is it worth the $3000 of legal costs involved?
5. Give your lawyer clear instructions
Read the correspondence from your lawyer closely. Often the correspondence will have a clear request for confirmation of instructions at the end of the letter. Answer each of the requests in order. Set time aside to provide instructions.
Following a few simple steps can go a long way in keeping your legal fees down. If you have any questions about our legal services or fees, contact our team today.