10 Ways to Cut Your Legal Bills

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Law-1063249_1920If you are a business owner, you will need to hire an attorney sooner or later.  It could be for contract work, mergers and acquisitions, or lawsuits.  Legal fees are expensive and can add up quick.  Here are 10 tips for reducing them.

  1. Document every meeting and conversation.
  2. Cluster your needs and questions to cut costs.  Most attorneys use programs that bill in 12 to 15-minute sections.  If your question only takes a couple of minutes, you will still be billed for the entire section.
  3. Educate yourself in areas related to your field.
  4. Find free experts.  Look for experts in your trade associations.  Local college professors may be another good source.
  5. Know who will be working on your account.  In a larger firm you may initially talk to a senior partner but the work will be done later by a junior attorney or a legal aid.  Make sure you know this and are charged at the appropriate lower rate.
  6. Hire the right experts.  Don’t treat your attorney like a general resource.  Accountants, insurance agents, real estate brokers, and other professionals often can help you on general items at a much lower cost.  Use lawyers for when you have a serious legal problem.
  7. Insist on regular bills and checkpoints.  In advance, agree that you will be notified of the cost incurred when a project reaches a specific point or when a certain percentage of the estimate is reached.
  8. Spread your business across more than one attorney.  They will know they are subtly competing against another attorney and will try to build your trust and loyalty.
  9. Check if your insurance provider will pay some of the legal bills in certain cases.  Ask your carriers if they will defend you aggressively.  Remember, they really work for the insurance company.
  10. Litigate only as a last resort.  Preparing a case for trial costs a lot of money and will eat up lots of your time.  Avoid filing lawsuits and if you are sued, try to arbitrate or mediate  the dispute.  Both cost much less than litigation.