No… I’m not kidding!
It is important for you as a client, as much as for us as lawyers, for our fees to be understood and transparent. We often get clients asking how much our legal services will cost. While in circumstances such as buying and selling property or other more standard transactions, we are able to provide you with an immediate fee estimate, there are many types of transactions where we cannot.
How long is a piece of string? In more complex cases, or where there are unknown situations, we need to understand the nature and scope of your instructions, and what your expectations are before we are able to provide you with a fee estimate. In some instances, particularly in litigation and most disputes, the process is somewhat like peeling an onion. You uncover one layer only to find another. Reason for that is we are not in control of the transaction, but are very much driven by reacting to the other side or party. What we can do in those circumstances is, based on the experience, give you a fee estimate to get from a defined point to the next defined point.
In general, the best way to assist in reducing your fees or keeping them at a manageable level is for you to provide us with very clear instructions. That is normally also best done by you setting out a chronological history of the issues together with documents to support each of the facts or allegations made by you. If you give us a shoebox full of information, then clearly, we have to go through and unscramble the eggs as it were. You generally are already in possession of that information and background knowledge. Help us to help you. We want your business, but we also want you to be happy that you have received value for money. The best way we can do that, is to add value to what you’re doing.