How To Lower Your Lawyer’s Legal Fees

You’ve heard all the lawyer jokes (How do you make a lawyer smile for a wedding photograph – ask them to say “Feeeeeeeees”) and read the bad press (“Compensation wiped out by legal fees”), BUT a good lawyer can help save you money, and money carefully spent on his or her legal fees is well spent.

o Is my first appointment free? Some lawyers provide the first appointment or initial consultation for free. Ask about this when you make an appointment. You certainly shouldn’t have to pay for an initial consultation, although some lawyers will try charging a fraction of their hourly billing rate. Don’t even consider a lawyer who wants to charge you his or her full rate for an initial consultation.

o Understand the law firm’s fee system before you hire a lawyer. Understanding what and how you are to be charged is obviously important. Billing procedures and rates are a common point of disagreement between lawyers and clients. The more you know ahead of time, the better off you’ll be. Again, this is another one of those questions designed to eliminate disagreements later on. Too often clients find themselves on the hook for hidden costs they knew nothing about.

Ask about the account management process – i.e. how often will you get to speak to the lawyer about how your matter is progressing and be given an update and breakdown of costs? If you have a tight budget, let them know and see if they will agree to a fixed price for the work – if it’s a straightforward piece of work, this shouldn’t be out of the question.

o Check for hidden extras. Ask what additional charges there are likely to be (often referred to by the lawyer as “disbursements”) such as searches, stamp duty, bank charges etc. Although it should have been made very clear, make sure whether the figure you have been quoted includes or excludes VAT.

o What do you estimate as the total cost to me? Don’t be concerned if the lawyer resists answering this question. So much of the cost of a case depends on the degree of conflict between you and the other party, and you know that better than the lawyer. You may learn a lot from the lawyer’s answer, however, so it’s helpful to ask. If your fee arrangement is to be hourly, you should also ask your lawyer to notify you when he or she realizes that the estimate is likely to be exceeded.

o What can I do to reduce the charges? Ask if there are any tasks you can do yourself to cut down on the amount you will be charged.

o Conditional Fees (No Win, No Fee). This means that if you lose your case, you don’t have to pay your lawyer, but you may have to pay the legal fees of the winning party. However, if you win, you might have to pay a higher fee. This type of arrangement is most often seen in cases relating to accident/personal injury, human rights cases and insolvency. Increasingly, forward thinking commercial lawyers are prepared to share the risk of other types of commercial transaction with the client. Expect the fee to be higher for a win than it would have been had it been a fixed fee, as long as you pay less or nothing for a “loss” or aborted transaction.

o Please confirm this in writing. In most cases your lawyer must advise you in writing how much the work will cost or, if that is not possible, how costs will be calculated. Don’t sign any agreement about fees unless you understand it and are happy with it and don’t even consider a lawyer who won’t give cost details.

o When do I have to pay? In most cases your lawyer must advise you in advance and in writing how and when you will have to pay. You are entitled to receive a detailed bill before you pay. Some lawyers will agree to wait until the matter ends before you pay them. Remember how and when you pay can always be negotiated.

o Negotiate! Fee and billing schedules aren’t set in stone, and the market place is competitive. So if you think the price is too high, or that you’ll need more time to pay the bill, try negotiating with the lawyer. ..preferably up front. Shop around but also remember cost should not the only factor in choosing your lawyer.

Why Seeking Experienced Estate Lawyers Is A Wise Investment

In the legal field, one of the processes that are an acknowledged minefield is the issue of estate probates. For those readers who are unfamiliar with this term, a definition is mandatory. A probate is a legal procedure that is designed to ensure that the estate of a deceased individual is dispersed as instructed to the parties that are stated in the testament or will. Prior to the dispersal of this estate, there are terms and conditions that have to be fulfilled to ensure that local estate laws have been complied with. This involves ensuring that matters of tax compliance are settled, debts are settled, and beneficiaries are acknowledged and notified.

In theory, it sounds like a simple exercise. Reality however is something else and frequently a spanner is thrown in the woodwork, which results in the proverbial logjams. When you are caught up in such a quandary, or better yet before it happens, it is a smart move to ensure that you seek the advice of an estate lawyer. Estate lawyers specialize in probate law and consequently are best placed to help you travel down this tedious road. This is irrespective of whether you are caught up in a succession battle or are simply following the due process of the law.

When you engage the services of an estate lawyer some of the services that you should expect to receive include locating and securing both probate, and non-probate assets, obtaining a death certificate from the authorities and acquiring an estimate of the deceased party’s estate and addressing income tax issues. Also, settling issues that could be disputed or cause miscommunication among the beneficiaries of the estate. Aiding the executors, preparing and filing all probate documents that are required by the court in a timely manner could be some of the duties required. These are but some of the services that one will benefit from when they hire the services of an estate lawyer.

It is not difficult to find an estate lawyer as there are many practicing in every city. Finding an experienced lawyer from a reputable legal firm is a little more challenging. There are individuals that specialize in the law of succession either as a part the general services that they offer the public or strictly as their area of specialization. For the specifics details on what a particular law firm has to offer, one need to check on the profile at a website (the law firms) or from a legal directory.

The firm that you are dealing with should ideally be in good professional standing with the bar association – minimal citations, the presence of a practicing silence and that sort of thing. The firm should also have a profile to prove their pedigree, and lastly professionalism should be the cornerstone of their operation. Moreover, remember when you are dealing with the grieving process, you will need a helping hand. A helping hand in this instance comes in the face of an estate lawyer. Call on the professionals; call on a law firm that understands probates. It is a choice that you will not rue.

When Do You Need to Hire A Commercial Lawyer?

How do you know you need a commercial lawyer? Many people who enter the business world are often focused on making profits, not realizing that there are more that can be done to make their daily operations more efficient. The financial aspect of a business is one thing but to promote a high standard and stable company would mean taking small details into consideration. It is true that legal matters can sometimes be given the least importance but would you rather wait for your company to lose a lot just because of legalities and formalities? The simple task of making company contracts secured may never be possible without the help of someone specializing in the judicial system. So how do you know you need a commercial lawyer?…You don’t need to think for a lot of reasons because you will need a commercial lawyer long as your business is operating.

You will need the services of a commercial law firm at a certain point and so it is important to establish a relationship with a qualified lawyer as early as now. The success of you business with any case or legal matters depends on how well your lawyer knows the ins and outs of your business. A lot of known cases are reported wherein companies lose a lot of assets because of their incapability to protect their interests legally. The judicial system is a vast universe of laws and regulations and you can’t possibly handle legal dilemmas on your own. You will always need the help of a professional who spent years studying and mastering the judicial system. For any commercial establishment or business, a commercial lawyer will be the main defender.

Some businessmen would rather wait for anything unexpected to happen before taking appropriate actions. Situations become more unpleasant in cases when rushed legal advice or defense cannot help in any way because it is already too late. These are the times when all you can do is to follow what the law dictates.

Times when competitors violate your interests are just some of the instances when you will need a commercial lawyer. Other instances are: employment contract concerns, fraud on business transactions, merging companies, legal issues, securities, legal paper works, expansion, and many other legal tasks related to businesses. The role of a commercial lawyer is important in maintaining the professional image of a company. He may also serve as the representative of the whole company to other businesses.

Real Estate Lawyers – Your Options

Transactions involving property can be quite complex and you might need a real estate lawyer to help you make sense from the transaction process and the details involved in the same. Legal transactions need to be managed carefully so that both property sellers and buyers get the best from the processes and this is what lawyers specializing in this field can help you with. They lawyers can handle a number of services on your behalf as far as the property transactions go whether they are individual house purchasing needs or commercial needs, residential developments to industrial developments.

Residential real estate lawyer

The buying or selling of a home is a very important process that ought to be handled in the most professional way possible. If you are buying, then you know that it is a huge investment on your part and there is need to ensure that everything works out smoothly from beginning to end and you get genuine transactions and deals in the end. As a seller, you also want to enjoy a smooth process dealing only with genuinely interested buyers to make the process seamless. A residential real estate lawyer can help both home sellers and buyers with properties such as new homes, resale homes and condominiums. Apart from such sales, a good lawyer can help you secure the refinancing that you need and mortgages for the property you are interested in.

Commercial real estate lawyer

Legal services are just as important to commercial real estate as they are to residential property. This type of lawyer can come through for lenders and tenants, landlords, buyers and sellers to offer the best solutions and choose the most appropriate process for the commercial transactions to take place. The lawyer can help you in a variety of areas as far as the commercial property goes including the following.

· Sales and purchases of the property where the lawyer ensures laws are followed and genuine buyers are hooked with genuine sellers or landlords with genuine tenants.

· Financing that is needed for the commercial property whether you are buying or selling so that you can get the best financial terms from your lender.

· Negotiations whether they are between you and the buyer or you and the seller or the landlord. Whatever the commercial process calls for, you can be sure that your lawyer will handle the negotiations professionally and within the law for you.

· A commercial real estate lawyer can also help with leases and subleases of commercial property and help you with lease review to ensure that the terms are reasonable and worthwhile.

· Title examinations can never be overlooked in any commercial real estate process and the lawyer will help you with title and lien searches so that you get deals that are indeed real and worth the efforts you are putting in.

· The lawyer can also help you create shared and joint ownerships to the commercial property under terms that are beneficial for both parties involved. When a lawyer is involved you know that you get a fair share of the ownership.

Entering Into Commercial Contracts With Your Lawyer

A contract is basically an agreement which is usually in written form and its purpose is to bind the two parties involved so that both of them will fulfill and follow all the rules and regulations set by the contract. It is more often that both parties benefit from entering into such agreement. There are several rules that are needed to be followed, rules that are either set by the state or by the both parties involved. Since contracts are governed by rules, any disobedience or failure in compliance to the agreement stated in the contract is subjected to penalties and sanctions.

In the business world, almost every transaction or commercial activity involves contracts which come in various forms. For contracts involving big transactions usually between two companies, commercial lawyers for both parties are necessary. Aside from becoming additional witnesses for any agreement, they serve as representatives for each company and have duties of ensuring that all terms and conditions are correct. Ideally, both sides should benefit equally from entering into the commercial contract.

A successful negotiation can help companies avoid waste of money, time, and effort. Commercial lawyers have the job of making sure that the contracts are comprehensive enough to avoid any problems and misunderstanding.

In entering into a commercial contract, you have to be aware of the background of the business or client you’re negotiating with. It would be wise to have an open forum and meetings to present each other’s assets and credibility. Credit check is also performed to make sure the companies are not just taking advantage of each other capabilities. It would be better if you can check specific details about the other company such as addresses, lines of business, owners and officials, products and services, records of affiliations to other companies, credit history, and credibility. A contract is supposedly built in trust and confidence but nothing is wrong in making sure about all the details. After making sure about the qualifications of the other party, it is time to weigh the pros and cons of entering into such agreements and if everything will be done legally. This will be the time you will need to seek the help of a commercial lawyer. He will help you evaluate everything from the proposal stage to contract signing. Seeking the help of a professional lawyer has always been an effective and wise decision.