A solicitor is a lawyer who helps with legal matters and can represent people in the lower courts of law. During your life, you may have any number of reasons to engage the services of a solicitor, from family law matters after a separation, to wills and estates, property purchases and sales, commercial law matters, compensation matters or representation in court for a driving offense.
Solicitors charge anywhere from $100 to $300 and upwards an hour, depending on the size of the firm, location in city or rural areas and whether you are dealing with a junior solicitor or a partner in a large firm.
Depending on the complexity of the legal matter you are dealing with, the costs for a solicitor’s services can go from a few hundred dollars to many thousands. Here are some tips on ways to save money on solicitor fees:
Be prepared and keep communication clear
The more time you save your solicitor, the more money you will save on legal fees. Most solicitors charge on an hourly basis, including all communications such as reading documents and phone calls. One of the best ways to save on solicitor’s fees therefore is to be very organised and succinct. Be well prepared for meetings with your solicitor with all documents in order and pertinent details highlighted. Have all details of your case prepared in your head and in point form notes and keep the length of phone conversations to a minimum. Keep to the point at all times.
Try mediation before taking legal action
If your legal matter involves a dispute (eg over non-payment of a debt etc) then try a free mediation service such as a Community Justice Centre before taking expensive legal action. For family law matters, try free mediation services such as those offered by Relationships Australia before engaging a solicitor to represent you in the Family Court. The cost of a child custody dispute taken to the Family Court, for example, could cost tens of thousands of dollars that would be better spent on your child’s future education.
Before engaging a solicitor check if you could be eligible for Legal Aid services, which may pay for all or some of your legal fees.If you are involved in a case in your local court and do not have the financial resources to engage a solicitor to represent you, call a court officer beforehand to put you in touch with the duty solicitor who will be representing people pro bono (at no charge) on the day.
DIY legal documents
Another one of the ways to save on solicitor’s fees is to prepare your own legal documents such as your will or a power of attorney using a DIY kit, available from your local newsagent or online. It’s recommended, however, that you engage a solicitor to review the document once you have prepared it yourself.
Finally, remember that solicitors have varying fee structures, so when you have your first meeting with your solicitor on any legal matter be sure to clarify what these are before going ahead.
Most solicitors charge on an hourly basis – One of the best ways to save on solicitor’s fees is to be very organised and succinct.
The more time you save your solicitor, the more money you will save on legal fees.