By Gary Hodder at Hodder Barristers
We have observed over the years that the amount of time lawyers have to spend on files can be a source of frustration not only for clients (who have to pay for all that time) but also for lawyers, who would much rather spend their time applying analytical skills than coping with the administrative details of a client’s file.
EFFICIENCY is the name of the game in keeping your legal bills down, way down.
1. HIRE THE RIGHT LAWYER
Keep in mind that not every lawyer is a good fit for you or your problem. It is expensive enough to have a dispute with the opposing party in your litigation without engaging in constant, and perhaps, equally expensive disputes with your own lawyer. Find a lawyer in whom you have confidence, whose advise you respect and with whom you get along, both at a personal and professional level. To succeed in litigation it is important that lawyer and client act together as a team. Without team work, even the highest-paid professionals cannot succeed.
2. ASK ! ASK ! ASK !
You should make it clear to your lawyer that part of the advice you are paying him for is how to minimize your legal bill. You are not out of line in asking your lawyer to commit to fee estimates or fee quotations in writing, where applicable.
3. GET THE MOST FOR YOUR LEGAL DOLLAR
Speak with your lawyer about whether or not junior solicitors or articling students (i.e. lawyers in training) can be used on your file. Such individuals are variably billed at much lower hourly rates, and if they are working under the supervision of experienced counsel, the file will not be compromised as a result.
4. NEGOTIATE WITH YOUR LAWYER.
Explore with your lawyer terms of your retainer that will result in lower fees. Discuss the possibility of setting a ceiling on fees to be charged for certain tasks, block fees for routine matters, volume discounts if you have a lot of business, and payment options limiting the amount that you will have to pay in any given month. You should discuss the possibility of a general retainer agreement pursuant to which your legal needs would be serviced for a fixed monthly amount.
5. TAKE AIM FOR THE ECONOMICAL RESULT
Be careful about fighting a lawsuit based on principles. It is not your role, as litigant, either to police the world at large or your industry, or your neighborhood. In a lawsuit, fighting for principles can be extremely expensive and frequently not very productive. Listen carefully to your lawyer about how you can obtain the best economical result.
6. EXPLORE ADR
Require your lawyer to explore every possible way that your matter can be dealt with other than in a court of law. Alternative Dispute Resolution has emerged as an inexpensive route to a fair result. To participate in binding arbitration requires the agreement of the opposing party, while many commercial agreements require the parties to those agreements to submit to binding arbitration.
7. OFFER TO SETTLE
In litigation in Ontario, whether you are a plaintiff or a defendant, you can achieve highly favorable cost consequences in your litigation by making an offer to settle early on. Frequently, these cost advantages do not require you greatly to compromise your position. Always remember that there are at least two reasons to make an offer to settle: (1) if it is accepted, you will obtain a certain result prior to the uncertainties and expenses of trial, and (2) if it is not accepted, to obtain favorable cost consequences.
8. DO NOT PLAY HARD TO GET
When you lawyer writes or phones, respond promptly and thoroughly. In any law suit, delay usually means at least some extra expense.
9. DO NOT USE YOUR LAWYER AS AN EXPENSIVE SECRETARY
You have a great idea for your file. You think that it will win your case, or at least help. So, you phone your lawyer. Your lawyer agrees that your idea is a good one or that your new information is indeed relevant. You start to provide all the details. Suppose this conversation has taken some 45 minutes and your lawyer is charging you something like two to three hundred dollars per hour. Consider how much smarter it would have been to sit down, organize your thoughts, and write out (typed, if possible) all the details your lawyer needs and send them to him with copies of all supporting documentation. Chances are your lawyer will obtain the full benefit of your information in one tenth of the time. The information that you have submitted can be placed in your file, as is, for future use and reference.
10. HELP YOUR LAWYER
You should constantly be asking your lawyer what things you can do to assist. Many tasks related to information gathering and sometimes even document preparation can be effectively and more cheaply performed by the client.
本文涉及词汇：民事诉讼, 律师费, 雇佣律师