Many people with legal problems, including family law issues, are rightfully concerned about the cost of getting legal help. Hiring a lawyer can be expensive and you do not want to find yourself in debt and staring at a very large bill you will struggle to cover. While it can pay off in the long run to get professional help from an experienced lawyer to address your legal needs, you should take some basic steps to manage legal costs as you seek assistance.
How to Keep Legal Costs Under Control
To manage your legal costs, here are some tips to follow:
- Know your rights: Legal Profession Regulations 2009 gives clients many important rights when entering into a business relationship with a solicitor. Clients have the right to negotiate a legal costs agreement with a law practice; to receive progress reports periodically and a bill of legal costs prior to paying for legal work; to request an itemized bill (at no extra charge) if a lump sum bill is sent; and to know the rate of interest you will be charged on overdue legal costs. You also have a right to be notified if there will be a substantial change in the estimated cost provided to you when you retained the law practice and to take advantage of protections in place when a dispute about fees arises.
- Keep your expectations reasonable. Your solicitor can help you to resolve your family law or other legal issues during mediation, negotiation, or a hearing. If you have a reasonable expectation of what the outcome of your case will be, you can make more informed choices during the process of negotiating a resolution. This makes it easier to resolve your dispute quickly and cost-effectively. If you expect to receive more than the law allows, you are likely to face a long legal battle and are unlikely to get the desired outcome in the end since the law will be applied to determine your rights at a hearing.
- Review your legal strategy regularly. Whether facing a family law issue or any other legal matter, you want to ensure you and your solicitor are on the same page and that you have developed the best strategy for a timely and successful outcome. If legal issues change, a different strategy may be required to address those issues. As compromises are reached, you can also narrow the focus of the negotiations to address only disputed matters so a final agreement can be achieved more quickly.
- Be prepared when talking with your solicitor. Whether you are making a telephone call or meeting in person, be prepared with a list of question to ask and have the information ready that your lawyer will need. Have a clear objective in mind for what you hope to achieve during the conversation or meeting and let your solicitor know what you are hoping to accomplish. Being prepared allows you to keep communications short and to the point and allows you to avoid unnecessary meetings or telephone calls.
- Help your solicitor to help you. You want to make it as easy as possible for your lawyer to help you. This means preparing a statement of facts or other information your solicitor requests from you. You should provide as much information as possible, in an organized format, so your lawyer does not have to piece together information from different sources.
- Avoid unnecessary telephone calls – be conscious of your communications choices. You should communicate with your solicitor about matters of concern, but want to avoid unnecessary calls. Assemble a list of things to talk to your lawyer about so you can address all of your issues with one phone call. If your solicitor is unavailable, leave your telephone number as well as a time when you will be available for a callback.
- Make contact with the assistant when possible. A solicitor’s assistant is experienced in Family Law and other general legal issues you may be seeking help with. If you have a basic inquiry or wish to make an appointment with your solicitor, reach out to the assistant instead of taking your solicitor’s time.
With an understanding of your rights, reasonable expectations, and good communication with your solicitor, you can work towards achieving your desired outcome with the help of a qualified lawyer – without spending a fortune.
At Owen Hodge Lawyers, we provide affordable legal representation to individuals with pending family law matters or other legal issues they need help resolving. Get in touch with one of our family lawyers today on 1800 770 780 or contact us via [email protected] to find out how we can assist with moving your case forward in a cost-effective way that protects your short and long-term interests.