As a client you want your attorney to give you the best quality representation for a price that doesn’t break the bank. Being a smart consumer about your legal services can help you cut your costs. In this article I discuss how you can maximize the value of legal services provided by your lawyer.

“How much is this going to cost?”

A big question on everyone’s mind when they go to see a lawyer on a matter is “How much is this going to cost me?” You are entitled to, and should, ask this question up front. A lawyer’s pricing structure should be clear—lawyers often charge by the hour or sometimes they have flat fee agreements if the matter has a definite end point (drafting a document such as a contract or will for example). Another option is for lawyers to take cases for “contingency” fees, that is, the client pays no money up front but the attorney will receive a percentage of any money that is won in an eventual lawsuit. However an attorney chooses to price a case, that pricing needs to be fully explained to you before you sign any agreement with the attorney for representation.

Complex cases can be difficult to estimate

In cases involving complex contested issue, a precise answer as to what a case will cost is more difficult to give. The answer “It depends” is not a satisfying one. Nor should it be. While no attorney can see into the future in matters that may be hotly argued it is reasonable for a client to ask for an estimate of what a matter would cost if it were to go to court.

Be an active participant in your representation

While you may not understand the intricacies of the law as it affects you, you can think about your situation and what might be acceptable outcomes for you before you consult with an attorney. In a family law case particularly when it comes to division of property, you might want to think about what issues you feel could be settled or agreed to off the bat. It is a simple truth that conflict in the legal world is costly for a client. If there are issues to be agreed upon you should consider them first if you can and consult with an attorney to make sure that what you are agreeing to is fair and reasonable. If some conflict is unavoidable it is still possible to isolate issues that can be agreed on saving you expense and time.