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Broke? Request an Alternative Payment Plan for Your Legal Fees

Sometimes, after you hire an attorney, you may find that you are unable to make the payments you agreed to. Obviously, that can be quite problematic, particularly since lawyers are good at making their employment contracts hard to break. In this case, you will need to request an alternative payment schedule. Here are some of the things that you must make sure you do to increase your chances of getting a better arrangement.

Be Honest from the Beginning

One of the best ways to ruin any chance of getting any break on your legal bill is to lie. Don’t try to make your situation seem better or worse than it is. Attorneys are trained to look for lies. Some people make the mistake of thinking that they need to build leverage to increase their likelihood of success. Don’t do this. All you’ll do is convince the lawyer that you are a liar, and that you are probably trying to rip them off.

When you start running into financial problems, let the attorney know. Whether you are running a sole proprietorship or a corporation, or just hiring an attorney for yourself, the sooner you let the attorney know about your situation the better. It will also make it more likely for your attorney to work with you.

Make a Proposal

You can always ask if the attorney has something in place to help establish alternative payment schedules. But you may find yourself getting a better deal if you make your own recommendation. The attorney will give you something standard, but you may still find yourself in a predicament. If all you can afford to pay is $50 a month, then ask if that would be an acceptable payment. If you would like to barter for services, then make the offer. Remember that attorneys are not likely to change their payment schedules too much unless they know what you can offer. Bartering almost always requires the client making the offer since the attorney probably doesn’t know what you can give. Just be sure to leave room in your negotiation to go up or down as necessary.

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate

So long as you are polite, you shouldn’t be afraid of negotiating. Ask the attorney questions about the alternative payment schedule. See if you can find another deal that will be better for your situation. Attorneys are more inclined to negotiate than other professionals. Do not get rude or offensive, but you can be confident.

Life happens, and it can be difficult to make the payments for your legal fees. In these cases, you will want to request an alternative payment schedule. You should not put off the request, nor should you pretend that there is not a problem. You need to be honest from the beginning and explain the situation to the attorney. You should then make a proposal for an alternative payment schedule. The attorney may have his own general recommendations, but these can sometimes be negotiated. Just remember to be polite.

Photo Credit: taberandrew

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