December 2, 2011

Tips Free of Charge

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For starters, I want to thank my ever so amazing readers for my posts the last couple of days.  The prayers for finding Nakita and the encouragement on quitting smoking have been genuine, heartfelt and much appreciated.  Thank you, sincerely. 

As you all might know, I am a family law paralegal.  I have been working in this capacity for about three years (or is it closer to four now?) and I love what I do.  But, people are always asking me how they can effectively keep their legal costs to a bare minimum.  While I could not (nor could any attorney) guarantee that you will have lower costs for your legal expenses (it really depends on many factors), I do have some paralegal insight for you on how to cut some corners on your legal expenses.

1. Photocopying and scanning.  Many law offices now charge for copies made and even scans made at their offices.  One way that you can cut back on this expense is by asking your attorney how many total copies of documents that they need ahead of time.  For example, at our firm (which I am pretty sure is a standard no matter the type of law or the firm you go with), we always need a copy of whatever you bring in for us and a copy for the other party or their attorney.  Granted, some things are not going to be produced to the other side and thus will not need the extra copy, which is why you should ask the attorney how many copies they will ultimately need.  It may be cheaper to print extra copies yourself or even take them to Kinko's to be copied than to pay the copy charge and/or time for the paralegal or attorney to copy them. 

2.  Be organized.  You use more of your attorney's time (and consequently more of your money) when you deliver documents to them in bits and pieces.  If your attorney gives you a list of all the relevant documents that they will need ahead of time (which they often will, depending on the type of law), make sure that you follow this list the best that you can.  Have documents ready is if you were going to present them to the Court or the other side.  Otherwise, you are paying your attorney or his or her paralegal to first organize your stack of documents before they do anything else with it.

3.  Staples.  If you decide that it is more cost efficient for you for the law firm to copy or scan your documents than for you to do it yourself, replace all the staples in your stack with paper clips.  I tell you, it sounds small, but it adds up using the staple remover for every five pieces of papers.  Your paralegal or lawyer will thank you!

4.  Be cognizant of your attorney's time.  While your attorney may like you and probably genuinely wants to help you with your case, they are ultimately there to build a business.  You are your attorney's paycheck and while they appreciate this fact, many people don't take into account that ever email that you send, meeting that you have and telephone call that you make to your attorney costs you money.  Usually this is billed in increments of tenths of the hour.  In other words, if you send an email and follow it up with a phone call about the same thing, you are paying for two separate 6 minute transactions.  Also playing off of the organization tip above, when you are going to call, email or meet with your attorney, it might be useful to have a list of topics you want to discuss so that you stay on track and don't have to follow up your email, meeting or phone call with another one.  Unless your attorney is a friend or relative, it usually helps you and them to stay on task.

5.  Evaluate the situation.  Especially true (I find) in family law, some things can feel like an emergency when they are really not.  In the midst of emotions, some times things can spiral out of control and make you want to call or email your attorney every five seconds to get their attention on something you find rather urgent.  Typically speaking, if you (and your children, if applicable), are not in harm's way, it is best to stop, take a breath and take other avenues to try to resolve your issue before calling your attorney.  These things usually pan out themselves after the dust settles.  If you are still really bothered by it, go ahead and write an email or make a phone call, just make sure you do so after you have all the facts that you need to present and that you have taken every other avenue to have this resolved.  A phone call to another person in charge that might be able to help is a lot cheaper than a 45 minute rant to your lawyer about how your spouse is refusing to let Danny be in Boy Scouts. 

Black Slacks-unknown (maybe Kohl's??); Burgundy Bow Tied Top with Button Detail on Sleeve-Attention, thrifted; Mauve Knitted Cardigan-Kohl's; Lace Tank-Ellen Ashley, thrifted; Boots-Wal-Mart; Ring-Department of Clothing; Earrings-gifted

Guess What???

Do you all remember the $20 discount to eShakti's online store that I recently featured ( remember this dress?)?  Well the kind folks of eShakti have decided to extend your ability to take advantage of  the discount code ROBIN0811. So if you missed it the first time, here's your second chance!  This code is valid through December 31, 2011 so don't delay if you are interested.  Second chances don't always come around this easy!

1 comment:

  1. Nice articles. I'm just blogwalking and very happy to stop here. And also give you some comment here.

    Dont forget to give us some your comment into my blog too.

    Thanks for share,
    * DARK HEART 2011 *


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