Legal Talk 3: Don't Lawyers Cost Lot?
We are in the Hoxton in Holborn. It's full of start-up people, funders and lots of excitement.
You say that you're thinking of hiring a lawyer, and that you’re not sure that they're any good but that they were recommended by a friend. You googled them and there were a few comments which were okay, but you just need to do a bit of thinking.
One thing we can talk about now is cost. You are trying to make money, not spend money. If you are spending money then you obviously need to make sure that you get a great return. So, when you're talking to your lawyer one thing to really be clear on is cost. Don't be shy about asking. In my experience, the number one reason that there are complaints about lawyers is not that the service was poor but because the cost came as a big shock. So, ask about cost up front.
Also, asking what the hourly rate is, is not asking about cost. Nor is getting a reduction in the hourly rate. This is because even if the hourly rate is low, the lawyer can spend a long time doing things that make the whole matter more expensive.
So, if you are shopping around, you need to pin down what the costs are likely to be in total.
If the lawyer shies away from this question and says that it is impossible to say, then ask them if they have done this kind of thing before and, if so, how much did that come to. If you can get them to commit to a range of cost (low to high) then you can ask them where you would sit in that range. By playing this narrowing down game you can eventually get to a figure.
It sounds like a bit of a pain, but it’s worth the conversation. It could save you thousands. I understand that it might feel a bit embarrassing to talk about cost, as it can be so unseemly. Thing is though that actually you are just buying a service and you need to get the best value that you can. If you are the shy type then it might be a good idea to take someone along with you who is a bit pushier or who has bought legal advice before. Overall, don't be ashamed into accepting whatever is quoted. Negotiate.
At this point I'm going to have to dash. Let's meet again to chat more.
Your Legal Coach
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