Managing costs is always a big factor for litigators. It’s important to keep costs down, because whether you are representing an individual or a large corporation, those costs can quickly get out of control and lead to an unhappy client. Worse yet, out-of-control expenses can actually have a negative impact on your ability to negotiate for your client. At A. William Roberts, Jr. & Associates (AWR), we offer a range of litigation services to help firms maximize efficiency and reduce costs. Here are some quick litigation case management tips to help you control costs.
#1 Have a Plan and Stick to It
Like everything in life, if you don’t know where you are going, you’re always going to feel lost. So, start every case with a clear idea of your goals and your budget. Some attorneys make the mistake of “seeing how it goes.” Instead, assess the case carefully and try to set a budget.
#2 Manage Expectations
If practical, talk to your client and make sure they understand the realities of the case in advance, long before costs begin to mushroom. Some lawyers lament that clients come to them with gold-level expectations but bronze-level budgets. For attorneys in family law cases, for instance, it may be as simple as explaining the average costs associated with litigation, then laying out the various “optional” services that could add value, along with the costs required. This way, the client is in the driver’s seat from the start. If the client wants surveillance and private investigation services, they will know from the start that this will be expensive.
#3 Trial Binders
Many experienced trial lawyers find their trial binders to be more than just a trial strategy—they can be a driving tool for the case. Some attorneys are turning to digital file management services to keep track of evidence, local court rules, jury instructions, and important documents. Whatever you do, try to create a list of the expenses you anticipate incurring in most cases. You may consider having a section in your binder for case expenses.
#4 Early Planning
Like most things in this world, last minute decisions require an extra charge. Asking a process server to drop everything and drive 50 miles to serve a defendant is going to likely cost you more than if you give them the assignment weeks in advance. With prior notice, the process server may be able to schedule their travel times, so they can serve multiple people in one area. This drives down your client’s costs. While not always dispositive, planning ahead usually saves money.
#5 Don’t Forget Free Sources
Finally, some things are free. Don’t pay for free stuff. If you represent clients and must obtain medical records, look into the HiTech Act of 2009. You may be able to save thousands of dollars in records copying charges. Some public records may be available through your legal research provider. If so, check before spending hundreds for a private investigator.
Schedule Legal Services Today With AWR
Sure, there are times when you just can’t cut costs. But if you plan well and stay creative, you should be able to serve as a good steward of client funds. Hiring a professional team to manage your litigation services can also free up your team’s time and help to control costs. For assistance with a full range of legal support services, contact AWR today