Most of us have been or know someone who has been in a legal situation that required the help of a lawyer. However, most people shy away from hiring lawyers because they are afraid of paying hefty lawyer fees. While there are thousands of lawyers available, they all have different qualifications, specific areas of training, and pricing. If you need a lawyer but are on a tight budget, here are the top tips to help you find a qualified lawyer within your budget.
1. Get Referrals from Family and Friends
If it is your first time hunting for a lawyer, it may be overwhelming for you since there are many options to choose from, which may seem nice and qualified enough. The easiest and most reliable way of finding the best lawyer is by asking for referrals from people who have used their services before. If you have a friend, family member, or colleague who has been in the same legal situation as yours, ask them which lawyers they used, and what other options they had.
Let them tell you the kind of experience they had with their lawyers, the quality of service they got, how much they had to pay for the services, and other recommendations if they have any. Collect as much information as you can from different people to get different options. Also, do extra research online to determine which option is best for you and your pocket.
2. Compare the Prices and Qualifications of Different Lawyers
Different lawyers are qualified for different types of cases and are trained in specific areas like criminal law, intellectual property law, bankruptcy, family law, real estate, etc. Do your due diligence to establish all qualified lawyers near you for your case. After listing all the viable lawyers down, find out how much they charge for their services. Keep in mind that they have different terms of charging; for instance, some will charge you per hour, some per session, and others have fixed prices for the type of cases they handle.
Comparing different lawyers and law firms will help you avoid making huge financial commitments only to find out the lawyer you hired is not qualified to handle your specific case. Put into consideration that your location could influence how much fees you pay for legal assistance. Also, the rate of living expenses could influence their charges. Ask your lawyer beforehand if there are additional fees such as court-related expenses, filing fees, or transport fees if they live in a different city or state.
3. Research on Law Firms that Provide Pro Bono Services
If you cannot afford money to pay a lawyer, you can look up organizations that offer pro bono programs. Several not-for-profit law agencies offer free legal support on different cases. Once you successfully apply to a pro bono program by proving that your income is below a certain threshold, you will be matched with lawyers who are willing to work with no pay.
Most private law firms now have pro bono divisions and will save you from being overpriced and possibly landing on inexperienced lawyers. If they ask for additional charges, put everything on paper for reference if you need them later. There are also self-help legal clinics in most states that provide legal advice at no cost, which is perfect for when you need quick advice but have no money.