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Legal services seem very expensive: can I afford a lawyer?

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Legal services seem very expensive: can I afford a lawyer?


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Dear Cathy,

I read your article last week and I am convinced that I need a lawyer. My follow-up question then is how do I access affordable legal services? Legal services seem to be very expensive and I’m not sure I can afford a lawyer right now. What options do I have?

Edward.

***

Hello again Edward! I’m glad you now understand the importance of having a lawyer. Your question now is how to access legal services without breaking your budget.

First, I want to correct the notion that legal services are very expensive. I think expensive is a very relative word. If you appreciate something, you will be prepared to pay the price.

The value provided by lawyers is invaluable as they help you avoid costly mistakes and play an important role in the evolution of your business. Legal advice is of great value not only to prevent errors, but also to manage risks.

Legal fees are regulated by the Lawyers’ Remuneration Ordinance. However, it might surprise you that the law sets a floor and not a ceiling in pricing. This means that lawyers are not allowed to under-invoice, i.e. invoicing below the set minimum.

‘Quick Wakili’

I saw a post on social media by some lawyers complaining about a trend where their acquaintances often fish for free legal advice which they jokingly called “wakili quick one”.

According to the social media post, the lawyers noted that some acquaintances were taking advantage of social connections to fish for free legal advice.

I would advise against the “wakili quick one” method of getting free legal advice as it is quite disrespectful. I’m sure you won’t go to acquaintances’ restaurants for free food just because you’re acquaintances.

Here are some tips you can use to access affordable legal services. First of all, it’s the traditional method. You can start by sending inquiries to different law firms asking how much they would charge for the service you are looking for.

However, be sure to balance cost with experience and skill.

Here are some ready-made methods. You might consider retaining a lawyer as part of your staff. The lawyer would be able to handle all your legal matters in exchange for a salary. You may also consider hiring a retainer attorney.

This means that for a periodic fee, the attorney would be on hand to handle all your legal matters. I know some law firms offer this remote model.

This means that in exchange for a periodic fee, they would be on hand to answer all your legal questions and requests. Both models make sense when you have a high volume of legal issues.

pro bono

Some NGOs provide legal support to certain types of businesses. For example, there is an organization that offers pro bono (free) legal services to social enterprises around the world. You can try to register if you are a social enterprise.

You could appoint a lawyer on your board of directors. The attorney would receive a sitting allowance and other benefits of being a director. The General Counsel may provide general legal advice to your business.

Finally, if you are open enough, you can offer an attorney an equity stake in your business in exchange for legal advice. This is called “equity setting”, where what the lawyer has discounted as fees is rewarded with equity.

All my wishes!

The writer is the founder of C Mputhia Advocates; [email protected]