How to squeeze the juice from your lawyer

So you need a lawyer. It happens to all businesses sooner or later, and the cost is always a big worry. Allan Archer of Riverview Law explains how to get the biggest bang for your legal buck.

by Allan Archer

A recent YouGov survey, commissioned by Riverview Law, showed that nearly a quarter of SMEs have no idea of how much to budget for legal fees over the next year. But there are ways to get price certainty on your legal budget. Here are five tips on getting the most out of your legal spend and eliminating any nasty and costly surprises:

Negotiate hard

SMEs often get bamboozled by their lawyers and end up paying far more than expected. So start your conversation with any firm by saying you need price certainty.

There are many ways in which you can pay lawyers. These range from success fees to fixed fees to monthly retainers, and choosing the right option for you can help to ensure you keep control of your legal spend. And if they won’t agree to them because they have internal billing targets to meet, there are plenty of lawyers out there who will.

Get as much as you can for free

The ‘ticking clock’ is one of the biggest gripes businesses have with lawyers. But you shouldn't have to pay for every piece of contact. Your legal spend should be reserved for bespoke legal advice, not to pay a lawyer to pull a document out of a drawer.

Fortunately, there is a lot of free information out there – the Riverview Law Legal Library, for example, contains over 650 plain English advice pages and over 450 documents, letters and templates. One hour of research into this and other sources could save hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. Our survey found that 14% of SMEs found their legal advice from free online sources.

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