Eleven Things You Can Do to Keep Legal Costs In Check

  1. Find an attorney who will agree to a flat fee. This may mean you will need to shop around but the extra effort involved in meeting with several attorneys can save you thousands of dollars in legal fees.
  2. Do as much leg work as you can. This might include compiling and copying documents or filing documents at the courthouse.
  3. Call or meet with an attorney on “as needed” basis. It may be cheaper to hire a counselor or therapist than to call your attorney every time you need to talk about anything other than the legal aspects of your case.  Keep in mind you are being billed for each contact with your attorney.
  4. Stay focused on what you really want. Every time you change direction in your case it is going to cost you more money.   It may be prudent to get really clear about what you want before you contact an attorney.
  5. Shop around before hiring an attorney. If you have to fire your attorney, then there will be additional costs associated with hiring another one.  Try to get it right the first time.
  6. Don’t feel obligated to retaliate to everything the opposing party does.  If your ex is a few minutes late returning the kids after summer visitation, you can strike back by taking court action against him/her but that decision comes with a price.  Make sure payback is worth the money.
  7. Look for opportunities to settle out of court. Your lawyer may not point out these opportunities because the sooner you settle the more they get paid.
  8. Get a second opinion. Law is not an exact science.  Two competent lawyers can give you two sound approaches to getting what you want.   A second opinion can let you know if there are equally effective but cheaper options.
  9. Mediate whenever possible. Professional mediators are much cheaper than attorneys.  Make sure they are qualified.   Before you hire someone ask for references.
  10. Negotiate the legal fee. Most attorney’s fees are non-negotiable.  However some are willing to negotiate.   But you won’t know until you ask.
  11. Speak with the paralegal or secretary whenever possible. It won’t cost hundreds of dollars to speak with the administrative staff in your attorney’s office.   And they often know as much if not more about the status of your case than your attorney.

Photo Credit:  Bit-101 on Visual Hunt

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