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What does a lawyer do, and do I need one?
Lawyers (also called solicitors) serve as representatives for businesses, organisations and individuals.
While many of us think of lawyers as those who represent us in court, lawyers are also valuable in situations outside of this environment such as at your family home or corporate office. With vast subject matter knowledge and experience they are trained to help you understand complicated laws and legal proceedings.
What can a lawyer do for me?
Lawyers are a valuable resource to call upon when you are unsure whether or not you need legal help. They assist in helping you to understand your legal position in a situation and what would be the best approach moving forwards.
From here, a lawyer can assist through any determined proceedings surrounding your legal issue, such as preparing documents for you.
What type of lawyer should I be contacting?
Lawyers often focus on a single area of law and / or related areas of laws. Just like how your GP may send you to a specialist, it is recommended to work with a lawyer with strong understanding and experience in the area of law relating to your legal issue. For example, it is rare that a divorce lawyer will also be able to assist you in dealing with a trademark infringement. Lawyers on our lawyer directory specify the areas of law that they work in to help you to find the most suitable lawyer for your individual needs.
How much will a Lawyer charge?
Lawyers will charge either by a fixed-rate or hourly fee.
When you submit a quote through LawPath, we’ll source you quotes from a range of expert lawyers. All of our lawyers work on a fixed-priced basis, meaning you always know how much the process will cost.
Hourly rates and Court fees
The cost of a Lawyer will vary based on the scope of the work. Small issues likely to be addressed quickly will cost less. For matters that will need to go to the relevant Court or Tribunal, there may be additional fees involved, particularly as this work takes time. These types of matters may also involve obtaining documents and negotiating with the other party.
What can an Employee Benefits Lawyer legally charge?
Legal costs can rise very quickly, especially in litigation. However, this is sometimes hard to avoid when work is being done by a lawyer on an hourly basis. Where fixed-fees are not offered by the lawyer, you should expect to be invoiced on a monthly basis with a time period within which you are required to make payment. Lawyers are required to adhere to the rules outlined in the relevant acts. For example, in NSW and Victoria, this is the Legal Profession Uniform Law 2014. Lawyers who do not comply with these rules can face disciplinary action from the law society of their State.
Lawyers are required to provide to their clients a document called a ‘costs disclosure’ if your costs will be higher than $750.00. This document will outline how costs will be calculated in relation to your case. Also be mindful that costs are divided into ‘professional costs’ and ‘disbursements’, and you will be expected to pay for both. Professional costs are the costs of the actual work done by the lawyer, whilst disbursements cover incidentals such as court filing fees, telephone calls, photocopying charges – amongst other things.
What if I don’t agree with the costs?
You have the right to request an itemised bill that will outline how much time was spent on each task in relation to your matter, and how this adds up to the fee you’re requested to pay. If you wish to dispute the cost, you can make a complaint to the The Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) and they will investigate the matter and may allocate a costs assessor. You can also take further legal action in the Courts if you feel you have been unfairly charged.
We’ve written an in depth post about lawyer prices that will help you understand what’s going to be involved when seeking legal help.
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