Clients should be aware of legal costs for their transactions and do what they can to minimize costs. SW&L’s Business Law Group and Real Estate Group do a lot of deals. Our philosophy and track record is to help keep costs down so that you hire us again. Despite our philosophy and track record, sometimes clients make counterproductive efforts in hopes of minimizing legal costs. Here are some common misconceptions and missteps:
Misconception #1: If I delay getting my attorney involved, I’ll save legal costs. Almost always wrong. It usually follows a statement like “This should be super easy — we have everything figured out already.” When lawyers are not involved from the beginning, the “big” things often get missed. Things like structure, due diligence, or closing logistics. Lawyers are forced to go back into fix-it mode, which takes much more time and money. Get your attorney involved early, and you’ll get better and more efficient representation.
Misconception #2: If I get my own documents from the internet, I’ll save legal costs. This has never been right. You get what you pay for. Free documents from the Internet are almost always garbage. Let your attorney start with the documents he or she is already comfortable with. It’s more efficient and provides a better starting point.
Misconception #3: If I insist the other party draft the documents, I’ll save legal costs. Initial drafting responsibility usually follows a certain custom depending on the deal type. We recommend you don’t deviate from that custom in an effort to minimize costs. Often the review and markup take more time and effort than the initial draft. Don’t be afraid to give your own attorney drafting authority.
As with everything, communication is key. Good communication with your attorney leads to a good working relationship. Good working relationships lead to effective and efficient legal representation. Understanding these misconceptions might help inadvertently running up your own legal bill.