How can I negotiate my lawyer’s fees?

How can I negotiate my lawyer’s fees?

By Law in Check

Negotiating legal costs becomes important when you are concerned about being unfairly charged by your lawyer. Before your lawyer starts work, it is important to:

Ensure you know the rates you will be charged

Before you start negotiating, you need to have a clear understanding of what rates you’ll be charged. Do some research in the market to ensure you’re getting the most competitive rate. Discuss this with your lawyer before signing any document agreeing to the rates.

Ensure you’re provided with a costs agreement at the beginning of your matter

A costs agreement is a written agreement between a client (you) and your chosen law firm. It outlines the scope of work to be undertaken, the rates on which your costs will be calculated, along with an estimate of the total legal costs/fees you will have to pay your lawyer. This estimate is very important, and lawyers must ensure their fees are within this estimate, or provide any updated estimate when they believe the estimate originally provided is out of date. The costs agreement should be clear and detailed and should reflect the terms discussed during your initial consultation with your lawyer. The costs agreement should comply with ethical rules governing legal fees in your jurisdiction.

Ensure your lawyer is transparent

Your lawyer must be transparent. You need to know how rates are calculated and what services are included in your fees. If there are going to be additional costs, your lawyer must notify you of this as soon as practicable.

Ensure your expectations are met

Make sure you understand the timeline and scope of legal services to be provided by your lawyer.

Then if you lawyer fails in any of the above, for example, charges a higher rate than agreed, or charges you more than they estimated, or does not meet the agreed expectations; then you can use these to negotiate a lower fee.

Negotiating your legal costs requires preparation. By knowing your rights regarding legal fees, you can successfully negotiate your legal costs and build a strong relationship with your lawyer.

See here for 5 tips to ensure your legal fees remain reasonable.

Should you require any help with understanding or challenging your legal fees,
call Law in Check on 1800 529 462 or send us an email at
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