How To Minimize Expenses In A Lawsuit

02 September 2023 by Anith eDiscovery expenses budgeting lawsuit

Takeaway: You can control costs in a lawsuit if you have the right plan of action. That means you must understand the case, choose a qualified lawyer, negotiate costs, stay organized, and explore alternative dispute resolutions (ADRs).

You can untangle even the most complicated lawsuit if you take the time to explore it.

Legal battles are often confusing and expensive, but you can simplify things by being well-prepared. So, the trick is to explore what the lawsuit is really about, look up the legal jargon used, and examine similar cases to discover any legal precedents. By preparing right, you’ll know what to expect from the case and will be able to make a pros vs. cons evaluation to decide whether to settle or fight the case.

First, you’ll want to invest in the right lawyer.

When choosing a lawyer, look at more than just their hourly. For instance, their specialization is important. An attorney who’s an expert in personal injury cases won’t be as competent when dealing with business-related lawsuits. Similarly, just because a lawyer is good at marketing themselves, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re good at litigation. So, evaluate prospective lawyers based on their experience, area of expertise, compatibility, and communication skills. Ideally, get recommendations from family and friends who’ve actually interacted with the lawyer and can vouch for their ethics.

Always discuss costs upfront and try to get discounts.

Yes, you’ll need a good lawyer, but that doesn’t mean breaking the bank to cover their fees. So, discuss billing methods, potential additional costs (e.g., paying extra for court, travel, or expert witness fees), and possibilities for discounts. Some lawyers may offer sliding scales or even pro bono services. And legal aid organizations often offer free or low-cost services for certain types of people and cases. Also, you might not need an attorney to handle every aspect of your case. For instance, your attorney could outsource some parts of it to paralegals – i.e., legal professionals with all the necessary training but without an attorney’s license. Their hourly rates are lower than attorneys, but they’re just as good with research and review.

You’ll also want to stay organized and manage all your documents well.

You can save a lot of money by staying organized. For one, keep digital copies of all relevant documents, emails, contracts, and correspondence. (Consider using data management software for this.) But also pay attention to paper documents – organizing them physically in neatly labeled folders, binders, or filing cabinets. Consider backing them up in a secure location, too. Do the same thing for records of legal costs: Track costs related to the lawsuit, including attorney fees, court costs, expert witness fees, and travel expenses. Also, regularly review your legal bills and consult with your attorney if you have any questions about the charges. Being transparent will prevent misunderstandings and disputes later on.

Keep logs of all communications with your legal team, opposing counsel, witnesses, or anyone related to the case. This means accurately noting dates, times, and key points discussed. If you’re sharing evidence (photographs, videos, witness statements, etc.) – either physical or digital – offload them into your data management system immediately. This will help create a ‘chain of custody’ for evidence – tracking who had access to which documents and when. Finally, clarify your communication channels by discussing how you’ll contact your legal team (email, phone calls, video meetings, etc.) and how often.

Keep a calendar of commitments and deadlines.

Set up a calendar that tracks court dates, deadlines for filings, meetings, and other key dates. Consider sharing an online calendar with your legal team to ensure everyone is on the same page. And set reminders for crucial dates to avoid missing deadlines. (Missing some deadlines might lead to penalties or even get your case dismissed.)

Consider an alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or even ‘settling.’

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) describes handling a case without going to court. It might include mediation (a neutral mediator helps negotiate a resolution), conciliation (the ‘mediator’ is less neutral and offers solutions), or arbitration (an arbitrator makes a decision on the case). You could even consider ‘settling’ the case by negotiating fair terms – e.g., an apology, a one-time payment, etc. The point is that going to court isn’t your only option. And these other options are often much less stressful and attract less public attention.

Most importantly, always look for low-cost alternatives.

All tools and services aren’t created equal – so it’s worth exploring low-cost alternatives where possible. For example, your attorneys will go through an eDiscovery phase when preparing the case, and this means using dedicated eDiscovery software. But there’s a huge price range here – and sometimes, attorneys don’t know about lower-cost alternatives. (For instance, you can have two eDiscovery applications that do virtually the same thing, but one costs $27 a month while the other costs thousands a month.) So, ask your attorneys about their eDiscovery software and suggest more affordable cloud eDiscovery services if needed.

And if you’re looking for affordable eDiscovery software, consider GoldFynch.

GoldFynch is a cloud eDiscovery service offering all the essential eDiscovery review tools your attorneys will need – via a simple, user-friendly interface. Here are some things first-timers love about GoldFynch:

  • It costs just $27 a month for a 3 GB case: That’s significantly less than most comparable software. With GoldFynch, you know exactly what you’re paying for: its pricing is simple and readily available on the website.
  • It’s easy to budget for. GoldFynch charges only for storage (processing files is free). So, choose from a range of plans (3 GB to 150+ GB) and know up-front how much you’ll be paying. You can upload and cull as much data as you want, as long as you stay below your storage limit. And even if you do cross the limit, you can upgrade your plan with just a few clicks. Also, billing is prorated – so you’ll pay only for the time you spend on any given plan. With legacy software, pricing is much less predictable.
  • It takes just minutes to get going. GoldFynch runs in the Cloud, so you use it through your web browser (Google Chrome recommended). No installation. No sales calls or emails. Plus, you get a free trial case (0.5 GB of data and a processing cap of 1 GB) without adding a credit card.
  • It’s simple to use. Many eDiscovery applications take hours to master. GoldFynch takes minutes. It handles a lot of complex processing in the background, but what you see is minimal and intuitive. Just drag-and-drop your files into GoldFynch, and you’re good to go. Plus, you get prompt and reliable tech support (our average response time is 30 minutes).
  • Access it from anywhere, and 24/7. All your files are backed up and secure in the Cloud.

Want to find out more about GoldFynch?