Saturday, April 21, 2012

How to Negotiate Fees with Solicitors

When you hire a solicitor to help you with your legal case, you will need to have a discussion with them about what the fees will be for their services. If you are knowledgeable about the types of fee arrangements this can help you deal with this aspect of hiring a solicitor.

The services of a solicitor can be expensive, but these days there are many different billing arrangements such as flat fees and “no win no fee” clauses. If you are hiring a solicitor to help you with your case, be honest and fair with them and negotiate a fee that you can live with.

Billable Hours

Billable hours are how most lawyers keep track of their time and bill their clients. They will record how much time it took them to do a particular task and bill you in fractions of an hour, usually 15 minute increments.

Ask your lawyer if they mind billing you in tenths of an hour or 6 minute segments instead. This can help you save a little bit of money because the billing will be more accurate. For example, if they spent 12 minutes doing something they might round it up to 15 if they are billing by the quarter hour.

Lower Hourly Rates

When you first discuss fees with your lawyer, they will offer you an hourly rate. However, if your case is very simple and will not require a lot of complex work you might be able to negotiate a lower hourly rate. Many law firms will actually have different rates depending on the complexity of a particular legal case.

Flat Fees

You might be able to save a bit of money if you propose that your solicitor works on a flat fee rather than an hourly rate. You can pay a set amount for their services throughout the case rather than paying them by the hour. This can work out to be cheaper and can also motivate your lawyer to use their time efficiently. It can also help you budget for your legal expenses because you know the maximum amount that you will be responsible for.

Contingency Fees

This is another billing arrangement that you could negotiate with your solicitor. With a contingency fee, if you win your lawyer will get a percentage of your winnings. If you lose, you will not have to pay anything. This is also known as a “no win no fee” arrangement and it can help you if you cannot afford lawyer’s fees otherwise. It can also inspire your lawyer to work as hard as they can on your case because their earnings depend on winning.

When negotiating fees with your lawyer, be confident and knowledgeable so that you can propose a fee arrangement that works for everyone involved.

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