What could be the reason why we don’t file a case or a lawsuit even to a person or an organization that has wronged us? Lawyer fees, of course! We are so afraid that we have to pay a huge amount to our lawyers that we just let abusive partners and employers get the better of us. That shouldn’t be the case because we are also allowed to negotiate with lawyers regarding their legal fees.
If you are in the trucking industry working as a truck driver in Washington, trustworthy trucking attorneys are your only hope against employers who didn’t pay you right and are not implementing the best workplace practices for an industry such as yours. However, because of the legal fees, you might feel that there is no need to get into all that trouble just to protect your rights as a worker.
Don’t worry too much about the fees. As long as you have legal ground on the case that you want to file, you will find that your negotiating skills are all you have to develop to get a good lawyer to handle your case.
Understand How Lawyers Bill Clients
There are three ways that lawyers charge their clients: by the hour, a fixed rate, or a contingency. If the lawyer is charging by the hour, it means he gets paid for every hour or portion of the hour that he or a member of his team works on your case.
A fixed-rate is usually used in preparing a criminal case or drafting a will. You will only be charged once. A contingency fee, on the other hand, is when the lawyer gets a percentage from the award of damages. This is the setup for most personal injury cases.
Discuss with the Lawyer
It is okay to ask the lawyer about the legal fees. He’s perfectly capable of answering your questions and clarifying any issue that might emerge from the charges he will bill you for. You can ask a series of questions regarding the use of the fees, how the fees are computed, how the fees can be lowered, the inclusions and exclusions in the fees, and the mode of payment he will accept.
When discussing legal fees with the lawyer, you might want to pay attention to how he answers your questions. You want to work only with someone who considers all your questions legitimate and who you can see is willing to help counsel you.
Ask for Six-minute Billing Increments
Most lawyers will charge a minimum of 15-minute increments. This means that even if the lawyer or his staff just spent five minutes of their time on your case, you will be billed for 15 minutes. Ask if you can go for six-minute billing increments wherein you will be charged only for one-tenth of the hour instead of one-fourth of the hour as is the case with 15-minute increments. This works if your lawyer is charging you an hourly rate.
Offer Your Help
Some tasks that the lawyer needs to do for your case are simply clerical. You can offer your help to do these tasks so that you won’t have to pay the lawyer his hourly rate or a fixed rate for those. Offering help will allow you not only to lower the cost of the legal fees but also get you closer to the progress of the case.
As always, everything that you agreed on should be put in writing. Read all the tiny details in the contract before signing your name on that sheet of paper. Remember that you are dealing with a lawyer here. Every loophole can be used against you. Protect your rights by reading the contract and asking questions.