How to Squeeze an Attorney Into Your Budget
If you’ve found yourself in a situation that requires the assistance of an attorney, there’s no doubt you’re already under a great deal of stress. Don’t let the often cloudy billing practices of attorneys add to your dismay. There are ways you can afford an attorney, even when you think you can’t, and ways to make sure you aren’t getting duped. Following these money saving tips and legal representation will be kept well within your budget.
Hire an Honest Attorney
Contrary to popular belief, not all lawyers are crooks. Despite the ideas that many people hold regarding the legal profession, there are a higher than average number of attorneys that aren’t in the occupation strictly for the money. Talk to friends and family that have utilized the services of a lawyer and get reviews. Chances are if your friends and family were highly satisfied, you will be as well.
Be Prepared and Concise
Litigation attorneys bill for their time. If you have an upcoming meeting with your attorney, write down questions that you have and gather any pertinent documents. The more prepared you are, the less time your attorney will need to spend pulling information out of you. The same can be said of phone calls. Don’t call your attorney every five minutes with questions. Jot down questions as you have them and phone your attorney less often. You’ll save money this way.
Do It Yourself
There are many things you can do on your own that your lawyer will charge you for. Obtain medical records, legal documents, titles and so forth on your own. These documents are available to both you and your attorney though it will be far less costly for you to gather them yourself. Remember, your attorney will bill you for any time spent researching on your behalf.
If you have a phone conversation with your attorney or any type of meeting, keep track of the time spent. When you get your bill, compare it against your records. Any discrepancies should be brought to your attorney’s attention.
Ask for Payment Plans
Some attorneys expect their fees to be paid within a certain length of time but many will allow you to pay, for example, $200 a month for as long as it takes. Ask the attorney you plan to hire about any payment plans they offer. Using a payment plan can often allow you to afford an attorney you would otherwise not be able to pay for.
Be sure to ask for a copy of exactly what you will be charged for and how much you will be charged. Will you be charged for photocopying documents? You could be charged up to 25 cents per page. How are phone calls billed? Stamps? Envelopes? By knowing what you will be charged you can keep better track of where your money is going. There will also be less chance of surprise when you open your bill.
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