Life can be extremely fickle, to say the very least. One minute you could be surfing the waves in California. The next, you could be fighting for your life in a hospital bed. It’s happened once again. You can’t seem to put your finger on how the situation came to fruition, but here you are again in need of a very good attorney.
You just got done paying all your monthly bills and savings is . . . well, we all know how that goes. Having to have a lawyer doesn’t have to mean filing chapter 13 bankruptcy. Below are three suggestions that will go a long way to saving you money in case you need legal representation.
There are countless options for attorneys and the legal field is very aware of it. They may represent a firm, but each lawyer is like a separate floating business. They have their own fees, schedules, and specialties. Most attorneys these days offer a free consultation.
Take advantage of this opportunity to interview your possible help. Ask about their experience. How many cases have they won? Do they have a settle first or trial first approach? Are there any of his/her colleagues that will vouch for him/her? Find out if they have been officially reprimanded and if so, what it was for?
Do they have a retainer agreement? Last but not least, how much do they charge? Based on these questions, you should be able to compare and contrast lawyers until you find one that portrays the best quality for the lowest price.
Ask For a Flat Fee
In any firm, there are two kinds of fees. Flat fees and hourly rates. A flat fee is a single charge that should cover all the details and work included in your case. If a lawyer charges you an hourly fee, this means that every minute put into working on your case, whether that be done by the lawyer him/herself or by one of his/her associates, accrues a certain charge.
Most firms charge a flat fee for things like drafting simple paperwork or representing criminals. See if you can negotiate a flat fee so that you are not charged by the hour for a lawyer to sit and drink coffee while he/she considers the next step to take in your case.
After you have received a quote, make sure to do your homework and compare the price to what other firms say they would charge for the same work.
Consider Other Options
Of course, there are always other options. Understandably, the majority of us just don’t have the time to educate ourselves on the laws, policies, and procedures of a court case. Most law firms are counting on it. However, you don’t have to know the entire book of judicial law to file paperwork or represent yourself in a court of law.
Most people would give a firm, staunch warning against this approach and it is definitely not for the less strategically intelligent or faint of heart. With that said, if you retain the ability to do so, it would save you a ton of money.
Another option is to settle out of court. If you can find it in your heart to show the adult maturity you should be the proud owner of, a lot of matters can be settled through mediation. This is a much less expensive way of coming to the solution of a matter and may prove to be a lot less stressful, as well.
The money in our bank accounts is precious to us, but life happens whether we are prepared or not. Use these tips to hang on to a little more of that precious cash the next time you find yourself in need of an attorney.