Submitted by: Deborah Moskovitch
I know from the many people I speak with, that the monthly statement from their lawyer’s office seems to be the last piece of mail to get opened. It’s not like you are running to your mail to see if it is there. And, the questions you ask yourself as you open the statement can make you anxious. Are there enough funds in the retainer to cover this bill? Do I need to submit additional money? Why can’t I keep the bills down? Why does the bill add up to so much so quickly? Why? Why? Why?
Instead of asking yourself why, utilize the how to strategies to keep your legal costs down, while maintaining control over what is going on in your file.
Here are some cost saving tips to help you cut down on your legal bill:
Maximize your meeting time
- Schedule your meetings through your lawyer’s assistant.
- Make a list of questions you would like to discuss, organized by topic or issue.
- Have an agenda ready, with all items and issues to be discussed.
- Take notes.
- Do any follow-up work the lawyer gives you (reviewing documents, contacting a specific specialist, and so forth), and make sure it is done in a timely manner.
Make all communications cost effective
- Save up your questions. Don’t call or e-mail your lawyer every single time you have an inquiry.
- Check with your lawyer first and find out how he or she likes to handle communications–via e-mail, phone calls, or meetings with prepared agendas. Also ask for recommendations on making your communications more efficient.
Provide as much written information as possible
- Many lawyers have their clients write out an account of their marital history. Ask your lawyer if this is what should be done.
Use your lawyer’s services cost effectively
- Listen to your lawyer and take notes.
- Remember, if you want to vent and complain about your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the meter is still running.
- If you are able to, do certain tasks, such as filling out the financial statement, yourself.
- Don’t micromanage (pay extreme attention to the small details of) your case. This only causes your legal bills to escalate and slows down the process.
And, if there is something that doesn’t make sense to you, ask your lawyer.
Deborah Moskovitch is a divorce consultant and educator, and author of The Smart Divorce: Proven Strategies and Valuable Advice from 100 Top Divorce Lawyers, Financial Advisers, Counselors and Other Experts. Deborah has become an opinion leader in the media and has shared her insights and research on television and radio to explain that divorce can be managed in smarter ways. To learn more visit thesmartdivorce.com.