How to Choose an Attorney - Fees

We find that flexibility is essential when it comes to billing clients for legal services.

Especially with private clients and small businesses one must take into consideration their financial capabilities and budget in order to ensure that they have reasonable access to legal services.

Due to a lack of affordability many clients walk away from matters in which they have grounds to take action.
Sometimes clients are hard pressed to appoint legal representation, for example in cases where they are involved as a defendant (being sued by way of summons), a respondent (being sued by way of application) or an accused (in criminal matters). In these instances they are usually vulnerable to exploitation as a result of lack of experience.

Our advice:

  1. Search for an attorney in your area or in the area of jurisdiction in which you are being sued. This will save you costs in correspondent fees, attorneys traveling charges and expenses. Discuss these costs with the attorney in order to avoid surprises when the bill arrives.
  2. Remember, bigger is not necessarily better.
    There are many small- and medium sized law firms that are on par and even exceed some of the larger firms’ capabilities, depending on your matter. Should you choose a smaller firm you should make sure that they have the capacity to satisfy your needs. Be open and candid about this during the first consultation. If you are not satisfied at any stage you should not hesitate on getting a second opinion and even move your matter, the sooner the better.
  3. Request references.
    There is no better way to get peace of mind.
  4. Negotiate your fees.
    Visit the website of the law society governing the area in which the firm operates or contact them and find the suggested fee structure between an attorney and client. Use this knowledge to negotiate a cost structure that suits your needs.
  5. Negotiate terms of payment.
    Many firms will not insist on large deposits right away, as used to be the practice in the not so distant past. They only want security and assurance that their bill will be paid. Find an attorney that accommodates your financial capabilities, you do not want to get left in the lurch when the costs become an issue.
  6. Again, do not hesitate to get a second opinion.
    An attorney who is worth his salt will not mind you getting a second opinion. This ensures that you stay confident in your investment in your matter and improves your chances of success. However, should the second opinion differ from your attorney’s advice, you should give your attorney the opportunity to respond to the second opinion.

    Having an attorney you can trust is very important and it can save you valuable time and very often protect you from expensive mistakes in your life.

Facebook and Defamation

Isparta v Richter

The North Gauteng High Court recently held that a person tagged in a Facebook message was liable for the defamatory statement in the message as he failed to disassociate himself from the tag.

This controversial decision may have far reaching consequences for many including private individuals and for employers who may be implicated by their employees in social media.