When you hire a lawyer, the vast majority will ask you for a retainer. A retainer is a pre-payment of legal services. For example, when you give a retainer to a lawyer it is placed into a special bank account with strict accounting rules prescribed by the Law Society of Alberta. Once a lawyer does work for you, he or she will send you a bill and pay that bill from the retainer that you provided. Once the retainer is depleted, you will have to provide another retainer, or in the alternative, if the work is finished and the retainer has funds left over, you will receive the balance of funds.
Many lawyers now take payment by credit card. Our preferred method of payment is Interac e-transfer.
The top question many lawyers get is how can I keep my legal costs down. Here are the top five on how to keep your legal fees down:
- Communicate with your lawyer by email. It is generally the most efficient way to exchange information with your lawyer.
- Have a discussion with your lawyer about alternatives to going to Court. Court proceedings can be very expensive. Discuss with your lawyer options such as mediation, or parenting coordination.
- Take time to think about whether or not you need to communicate with your lawyer at all. If your email or phone call is simply a matter of venting, ask yourself if your lawyer really needs to know that.
- Provide requested information to your lawyer in a timely manner so repeat requests are not necessary.
- When you do need to have a telephone discussion or send an email to your lawyer, make sure that you are prepared for it and have written down all important points to discuss with them in order to address all of them in one phone call or email. Sending multiple emails or making multiple phone calls will increase your costs.