Tips for Saving on your Legal Fees – How to Save Money on Your Divorce
We are interested in providing you a competent and experienced legal service at a reasonable price. As your attorney, we will send you a statement of time and costs each month. This statement is based, in part, upon an hourly rate for the time spent on your legal work. We strive to provide with you with the most economical and cost-beneficial divorce possible. You can help us keep those costs as low by following a few simple guidelines.
Save by doing some footwork
Attorneys and paralegals can spend a large chunk of time gathering, organizing, and preparing documents for your case. We are always happy to help, but keep in mind that it will almost always take you less time to organize your own documents than it will for someone at our office. For example, if we request various bank statements, email chains, or medical documents, be sure to gather them in order and use clear labels.
Save by being interested
It is only natural to respond more quickly to people who shoe an interest in the progress of their case. We will always try to keep you informed about your case, but if you are not sure what the status of your case is or what the next step will be, contact the attorney or paralegal. This will keep things running smoothly and cut back on the cost of catching parties up to speed later on. Additionally, make sure that you spend some time with your attorney regarding your goals and objectives. Make sure to communicate with your attorney if any of your goals and objectives change. This will help prevent any backtracking that might need to be done by the attorney.
Save by working with your ex
If possible, you can work with your ex to narrow the issues that you need attorney help with. The less you need to bring to court, the less you will spend. Additionally, you can communicate directly with your spouse throughout your case if possible. Communicating through your attorney can be tricky and usually involves at least five phone calls (1. Client to attorney 2. Attorney to opposing counsel 3. Opposing counsel to your ex 4. Opposing counsel back to your attorney 5. Your attorney back to you). This is often necessary during high conflict cases. However, if possible, working directly with your ex can save you time and money.
Save on Phone Calls
Phone calls are billed at an hourly rate for each call, either to or from you, and to or from others (opposing counsel, expert consultants, potential witnesses, etc.). We charge for phone calls because a great deal of time is spend negotiating, obtaining information, etc., through telephone conferences. However, you will not be billed for scheduling appointments, confirming dates, or for questions regarding your billing statement.
You can save on telephone conference charges by:
- Speaking with a paralegal, whose hourly rate is lower than that of an attorney
- Saving up information for one single phone call instead of a series of short calls, unless you need immediate information or assistance
- Making a numbered list of facts, questions, conclusions, suggestions, or ideas, which you may wish to discuss
- Having your file and background information handy for convenient reference during telephone conferences
- Making notes of the answers or advice you receive
- Scheduling your telephone conference with the attorney through the paralegal to prevent a series of callbacks
Save by writing/e-mailing
You can also save by writing instead of calling. Written communication provides a way to organize thoughts, although in some cases it cannot take the place of a telephone call. When the attorney receives a letter or email, he or she can organize the appropriate opinions and advice and then call or return your email with specific answers and information. Sometimes less time is involved in relating facts by letter than by telephone conference, and both parties have written evidence of what was communicated.
Saving on office conferences
Preparation is the best way to make full use of your office conference time. Here are some ways to cut conference costs:
- Write out the necessary information, questions, etc. in outline form to use as a tool in your conference
- If you are asked to bring in documents of any kind, please bring the originals when possible. We will provide you with a copy of the original or will return the original to you after making a copy for our file.
- You may be asked during the course of initial information gathering to write out the facts as they occur in a chronological fashion
- Stick to business. AT the hourly rate you are being charged, you most likely will not want to socialize during a business conference. Your legal matters are of primary interest to both you and this office, and we want to serve you in the most efficient way possible.
Save by reviewing your billing statement
When you receive your monthly statement, examine it for clues on how to save. You may discover, for example, that you have been telephoning more often than needed or that you can save by calling less and writing emails more often. Paying your bill by the 25th of each month will also save you on interest charges.