Let’s face it – attorneys are expensive. No matter how well you may be doing, an extra large monthly bill will cramp just about anyone’s style. However, there are significant things clients can do to help keep their lawyer bills to a minimum.
1. If you make your lawyer your therapist, you have an expensive therapist. Yes, you need to make your lawyer aware of the relevant facts. But remember that many discussions, such as how unfair a situation may be or how rotten the opposing party is, have limited use to the outcome of your case.
2. Stay on top of the case. Clients who understand what is going on and make sure to do things when they are asked save money. If your lawyer has to ask you more than once to do some task or provide some documents, you are wasting money.
3. Be the organizer. Clients have control over how they present information to their lawyer. I recently had a client that presented a binder with labels, table of contents, and explanatory notes. With everything clearly laid out, it saved me an enormous amount of time to learn and understand the case. Yes, it takes time - - but unless your time is worth more than your lawyer charges, it makes sense to make that investment.
4. Volunteer. Clients can sometimes do some of the legwork, like gather witness addresses and phone numbers. Ask if there is anything you can do to save money.
5. Be on time and on task. If you make your lawyer wait for you to get to court or a deposition, it costs money. Likewise, taking another call while sitting in your lawyer’s office does not stop the billing clock. Turn off the cell phone and focus.
6. Take the first cut. There is nothing magical about writing agreements. Why not list out the items you want in an agreement before giving it to your lawyer?
7. Use email. Emails are simply more efficient that communicating by phone and snail mail.
Michigan Legal Intelligence is authored by W. Jay Brown, a Midland Michigan based civil litigation attorney. The foregoing is intended to be for general information purposes only and is not intended to be specific legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship between W. Jay Brown PLC and you. Individuals with legal issues are advised to consult an attorney of your own choosing for advice specific to your situation.