Engaging a lawyer can be an expensive but necessary process, particularly in complex family law matters.
However, there are some simple things you can do to minimise your legal costs.
- Engage a lawyer early, even if it is just for a first consultation so that you can understand the process and how a lawyer can help you (now or later on).
- Be frank with your lawyer. Your lawyer will advise you based on the information available to them. If you don’t tell your lawyer everything from the get-go, you may be given incorrect advice putting you on the wrong path and create unachievable expectations.
- Promptly follow your lawyer’s directions. You may be asked to provide documents; do so early and in a collated and organised way. You may also provide the documents in duplicate if you know they are to be disclosed to the other side (this will save you some photocopy disbursements). If you are directed to sign up for courses or programs, you should do so straight away so as to avoid lengthy waiting lists down the track, which may delay your matter.
- Before a consultation or telephone conference, write a list of questions you have and tick them off as you go. Alternatively, consider writing a brief email. This will reduce the time of the lawyer’s attendance on your file and help you better manage your costs. Remember, read the costs agreement carefully to understand how and what you will be charged.
- Try not to overburden your lawyer with unnecessary information and unproductive conferences or telephone calls. Your lawyer will clearly identify what is relevant to your case and will gather evidence necessary to maintain momentum in your matter.