Aug 22, 2014

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What constitutes legal expenses?

Legal expenses are all those costs that a litigant has when pursuing a legal action. Many people think of legal expenses as only the money that it costs to hire a lawyer, far from it. The true cost of any legal action is far more than just the lawyer’s fee, it includes dozens of other costs that range from photocopying documents to filing fees to paying for the services of an expert witnesses. To cut legal expenses is important to know what to expect, this understanding is important so the client knows precisely what he or she is getting for the money.

Although the legal bill includes many ancillary costs and charges, in most cases the greatest majority of the bill does go directly to the lawyers. In many cases a lawyer will demand a consultation fee which allows him or her opportunity to examine the facts prior to accepting the case. Should the lawyer agree to take the case the next cost will be a retainer and then hourly billing as work is done on the case. To some people the lawyer’s fee may be exorbitant but to cut legal expenses there are lawyers who will accept work based on a sliding scale and there are also lawyers that periodically take work pro-bono. If the case is criminal, the defendant will get legal representation whether or not he or she can afford it.

Legal expenses will often cover expenses associated with office use and overheads. Costs associated with the office can be photocopying, the consumption of supplies, sending faxes as well as the time put into the case by those in the office including clerks, paralegals and secretaries. It is important for you to request an itemized list of the billing for you to fully understand why the fee is what it is. With his listing of expenses the client is in a position to review all expenses and dispute some if the client feels they are out of line.

At times the lawyer may have to introduce expert witnesses, consultants and private investigators to build a cohesive case. In addition to the direct fee charged by these professionals the client is often charged all their expenses as well including travel, housing a stipend and there are some lawyers that will take the opportunity to inflate their billing by marking up the cost of their services.

In an effort to cut legal expenses many businesses that have a high risk of liability are taking out insurance policies that cover their legal costs.

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