Lawyers are some of the most highly-paid professionals in the world. They save you from legal consequences and will charge a hefty amount for that. But some lawyers might try to make you spend more than you should. If you don’t want to waste thousands of pounds without any positive outcome, this post is just for you.
Here are 10 things you should know about to stay safe from lawyers who’re trying to rip you off
- 1. Learn about 'Retainer' Fees
- 2. Look Out For Double Billing Attorneys
- 3. See Whether Your Lawyer is Over-Billing You
- 4. Don't Work with Attorneys who're Not Quoting a Fixed Estimate
- 5. Work with a Reputable Lawyer with Great Contacts
- 6. Beware of the Charges during Initial Consultation
- 7. Keep Your Options Open
- 8. Ask If Your Lawyer Charges for Phone Calls and Emails
- 9. Try Agreeing on a Fixed Fee
- 10. Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Working Efficiently
1. Learn about ‘Retainer’ Fees
It’s quite common for attorneys to ask for a retainer fee before working on a case. However, many people still don’t know what a retainer actually does. It is not a limit for the fee a lawyer can charge you. A retainer fee is an advance deposit you have to pay upfront.
For example, if you are paying a retainer of 30,000 pounds, while your lawyer charges 250 pounds per hour, you have paid for 120 hours. However, depending upon the difficulty of the case and the length of the trial, this amount can increase.
2. Look Out For Double Billing Attorneys
When you pay a three-figure hourly fee to a lawyer, you expect them to only work on your case. However, many lawyers work for multiple clients at once and charge the same fee from everyone.
This is called double billing, and it’s a highly unprofessional practice. If you find out your lawyer is double billing, you should consider other options.
3. See Whether Your Lawyer is Over-Billing You
Padding hours is one of the lawyers’ most common tricks to make money. For example, if your session lasted 100 minutes, the lawyer will charge you for two hours. They consider this practice wholly ethical and legal.
Moreover, many attorneys might manipulate their working hours. They come to work at 1:00 PM, leave at 7:00 PM, and claim to work for 9 hours. The attorney will charge you for hours in which he watched movies on his laptop after work.
This is illegal and unethical. If you suspect your lawyer is not working as much as they’re claiming or have suspiciously low productivity, you should consider filing a complaint.
4. Don’t Work with Attorneys who’re Not Quoting a Fixed Estimate
During the initial consultation session, ask the lawyer to provide you with a fixed estimate on how much the legal process will cost you. Apart from attorney fees, there are many other expenses involved as well.
However, if a lawyer doesn’t provide you with a fixed estimate and insists on working with an hourly rate, you should look for other options. This shows that the attorney is unclear about your case and doesn’t know how long the case will last.
5. Work with a Reputable Lawyer with Great Contacts
To get the best legal outcome, you have to hire a lawyer who’s experienced and has contacts with judges and court attorneys. However, attorneys with so many contacts can charge you four-figure hourly rates. For reference, the highest-paid lawyer in the UK earns 10 million pounds annually.
Moreover, these lawyers work on multiple cases simultaneously and might not have enough time to research your case properly or address your queries. However, you can be sure about one thing; such attorneys will not disappoint you.
They want to be successful consistently, as one lost case can tarnish their reputation.
6. Beware of the Charges during Initial Consultation
You might even have to pay a lawyer’s hourly rate during initial consultations, where you’re explaining your case. This is unfair, as you shouldn’t pay an attorney when you haven’t even hired them.
In an initial consultation session, the lawyer will ask you multiple questions about your case to understand your legal situation better. If they are advising you at this stage, they’ll most likely charge you as well.
Moreover, this is also a method lawyers use to hook clients. They want to make you pay to ensure you’re serious about hiring them. So, before organizing an initial consultation session, ask the attorney whether they’ll charge for it.
7. Keep Your Options Open
Lawyers want to make money, and there’s nothing wrong about it unless you’re getting positive results. However, you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on a lawyer who can’t defend your case.
After working with an attorney for a few hours, you can have a clear idea about their abilities and whether they can provide you with the legal solution for your case. Therefore, before committing to a lawyer, look for other options.
Explore different portfolios and choose the attorneys with good reviews and prices as a backup.
8. Ask If Your Lawyer Charges for Phone Calls and Emails
A lawyer can legally charge you for any kind of professional interaction. You can’t be more wrong if you think you’ll only have to pay your lawyer for physically-interactive sessions. They can also charge you separately for making phone calls and writing emails during their working hours.
When you call an attorney during or after working hours, they have to leave what they’re doing to address your concerns.
So, before you start working with an attorney, ask them whether they’ll charge you separately for phone calls and emails, and if they do, ask how much you will have to pay on top of the already inflated hourly rate.
9. Try Agreeing on a Fixed Fee
Usually, lawyers ask for hourly rates instead of a fixed price to defend a case. However, their hourly rates are far from cheap.
Depending upon the experience and record of an attorney, you’ll have to pay three-figure and even four-figure hourly rates for some highly reputable professionals. The problem is that you don’t know how long your case will go on. If your case is complex and goes through multiple trials, your lawyer will be working for hundreds of hours.
In addition, consumers have no idea how much their case will cost them. Therefore, if possible, try negotiating a fixed price with your attorney. Then, agree on a one-time amount you’ll pay the attorney for defending your case, regardless of the result.
10. Make Sure Your Lawyer Is Working Efficiently
Time is money, especially when you must pay three-figure hourly rates to a lawyer, apart from other miscellaneous charges. If your lawyer is being inefficient and not using their hours productively, they’re ripping you off.
Therefore, it’s essential to constantly keep a check on your lawyer’s work progress during their working hours. Their laziness can not only affect the outcome of your case, but it can also cost you thousands of dollars.
If you’ve hired an attorney from a law firm who’s not working productively, you can report this issue to the firm as a consumer.
To become a highly acclaimed lawyer in the UK, you should score well in your college exams and dissertations.
However, the law is a field that requires a fair amount of research, and if you’re not good at that, you need law dissertation help UK. By scoring well in your dissertations, you can score a relatively high overall GPA, beneficial for your career.