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Ep63 Legally Wise Mini Bite

by Jacqui Brauman
June 9th 2021
00:07:17
Description

In her Legally Wise Mini Bite, Jacqui gives advice about how lawyers charge, and how to talk to a lawyer about their fees.

 

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Mhm. Yeah. Hello Jackie Berman here from legally wise Women. This episode, I wanted to talk a little bit about how lawyers charge and how to have a conversation with a lawyer about their legal fees. So most people, when they think of a lawyer think of a private lawyer. So lawyers go into business and they run a business of providing legal legal services and they charge for that. There are however, government legal services that includes legal aid, which is fully government funded. They are restricted to the kinds of law that they do, but they do have a referral service as well. So you can contact them to try and get referred to other free or low cost services that you could have access to. Then there are community legal centers which are mostly funded by government grants, but also by fundraising. And they I usually means tested as well and usually only restricted to certain areas of the law too.

But again, it could be worth your try to get in contact with some of them, particularly for a referral service or to point you in the right direction of where to start. There are some that focus a lot on family violence separation, and divorce and child protection matters as well as other human rights sort of areas where people are from disadvantaged groups. There are also consumer advocacy groups as well. So consumer affairs in victoria is one where you can get access to advice. But more importantly, sometimes dispute resolution ombudsman's as well are also a really good place to try and access dispute resolution. So all those services sit under the banner of legal services. But then when you get to private lawyers, you're looking at lawyers who charge a fixed fee for certain types of work. Traditionally a lot of lawyers have always charged on an hourly basis, but more and more are moving away from it and if you get advice from a lawyer and they only provide hourly rates then you should get another opinion, have a look around and see who else is available to provide similar services.

No win, no fee solicitors, usually those who do workplace negligence claims or ta see claims, this is because they have an insurer on the other side and because it's more likely than not that they will get a payment for you, so no win. No fee does not apply to the majority of legal areas. So when you narrow it down, you're going to a private lawyer and they're either going to be charging an hourly rate or a fixed fee and you want to try and find someone who can give you a fixed fare quote or at least a range in which the matter might resolve now you can ask these things up front more and more solicitors are putting their fee ranges on their websites. If there's nothing at all about their fees on their website, you might not bother to have an initial appointment with them, but you should ask up front.

Yeah, a solicitor has to provide you a cost agreement. Once you've given them instructions to act for you, the cost agreement has to set out how they're going to charge, what they estimate the matter is going to cost upfront. How regularly they're going to invoice you. And the terms, you can also have a deeper conversation with them than that. You can say whether you want itemized invoices or you can say you want to be invoiced monthly so that it doesn't so you can stay on top of it. Quite a lot of solicitors ask for a retainer up front. This is sometimes reasonable depending on the amount some solicitors allow you a payoff arrangement or sort of putting some money in regularly to try and stay ahead of others. Well, quite often say, well, you can pay at the end because we know you don't have cash until the end of the matter, but we know that you will when you get to the end. So There's plenty of different arrangements that you can make with a lawyer.

Then the other thing is, once you've engaged the lawyer, you've got the cost agreement is to have the ongoing conversation about fees along the way. If you haven't had an invoice for awhile, ask for one if you get an invoice and it's not itemized and you don't understand what you're getting bill for. Ask them to explain the communication is really important, but also your management of your own matter is really important when you hand your matter over completely to a lawyer. That is when things can get out of control because they assume that they know what you want and need. They will make the making decisions on your behalf and guiding the matter rather than having conversations with you about what the options are and how it should be run. So that is often how costs can get out of control because the person is not managing the matter actively themselves. Or the other way fees can get out of control is because a client uses their solicitor more like a psychologist.

And so they're on the phone to the solicitor every week for an hour to vent about something which they really need another professional for lawyers are not psychologists. And while some of what you say to them can be relevant for your case, a lot of the venting or the emotional support would be far better from a coach or a psychologist. So having adequate support outside your solicitor is also really important. So I hope that dispels some things around how lawyers charge and how to have the conversation and what to expect. All of these should be really open and up front. So if a solicitor is reluctant to talk about fees again, when you're choosing to hire the right lawyer, they may not be the right person for you. If you can't have that conversation. If you have any questions about this, please don't hesitate to email me Jackie at legally wise Women dot com dot au.

Or if you have any other requests for these legally wise. Many bites, Yeah. Go ahead and contact me or comment on our website. EQ Eq. Talk to you soon. Thank you. Oh. Mhm.

Ep63 Legally Wise Mini Bite
Ep63 Legally Wise Mini Bite
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