Legal costs can burn through your company’s resources pretty darn quickly!
When a lawyer charges anywhere between $500 to $1,000 per hour, those legal bills can come as a nasty surprise!
With inflation hitting unprecedented heights, plus global volatility and economic slowdown – you’ve really got to tackle those business costs across the board!
And your company’s legal costs are a great place to start!
It goes without saying: your company’s legal needs are paramount.
One legal misstep can cost you unthinkable sums in the future, not to mention open you up to all kinds of liabilities you absolutely don’t want!
So you’ve got to get all your legal needs met…to the standards required…in a way that protects your risk…all whilst trying to save money!!
Now that’s no easy task!
Fortunately, there are a ton of ways to go about cutting your legal costs, and a whole range of alternatives out there – so you can get your legal services without breaking the bank. Hooray!
Here are our 10 killer ways to cut your company’s legal costs (you’re welcome!)
1. Use Superlegal’s AI Contract Review Platform
Aside from being the number one way to save on legal fees, Superlegal’s AI contract review is superior in all of the following ways:
- Manage and reduce your legal risk: Reviewing a contract can be pretty stressful, taking into consideration the risks involved! With AI contract review you’re able to future-proof and mitigate risk by ensuring accuracy and consistency across your contracts, without paying tens of thousands of dollars on legal fees.
- Save a ton of time: Automated solutions don’t just perform faster, they reduce turnaround time from days to the same-day! A fully automated legal contract review service can reduce contract review time by up to 80%.
- Guarantee quality, accuracy & consistency every time: Hours of work and tiredness that invariably affect manual review will never stand in the way of quality or consistency again with an AI contract review solution.
- Negotiate the best deals for your business: AI contract review is data driven and aligns with market standards to review contracts in a way that reflects your industry’s expectations for an entirely commercial contract review.
Superlegal is an AI contract review platform and all-in-one legal dealmaking solution.
Superlegal’s combination of revolutionary AI and team of legal professionals puts your business needs first.
With Superlegal, you can take your deals all the way from initiation to signature: create and manage your contracts, negotiate your deals and take them over the line.
All whilst saving up to 90% on your legal costs!
2. Understand your legal needs
Before you start looking for a lawyer, you need a crystal clear understanding of the legal services your company needs.
This will help you determine what kind of lawyer or service you need, and how much time and resources you should expect to invest.
Firstly, consider your company’s specific legal needs – you can then research lawyers or legal services that specialize in that particular area of law.
Companies can have a wide range of legal needs, depending on the size and nature of your business, and the industry you operate in:
- Incorporation: If you choose to incorporate in order to protect the owners from personal liability for the debts and obligations of the business – you need legal.
- Employment: You need to comply with various employment laws related to hiring, firing, pay etc.
- Intellectual property: You need to register trademarks, copyrights, patents etc to protect your valuable intellectual property.
- Contracts: Every relationship you have with an employee, customers, supplier, or other business needs a contract!
- Tax: You may need legal assistance to make sure you comply with tax laws, tax planning and filing tax returns.
- Real estate: You may need legal assistance with leasing or purchasing commercial real estate.
- Mergers and acquisitions: If you’re considering merging with or acquiring another business, legal assistance may be necessary to ensure that the transaction runs smoothly.
So whether you need a straightforward NDA or a 100 page Joint Venture Agreement – the type, extent and duration of service you need will differ significantly.
So be super clear from the outset of your business needs and the outcomes you want – to make sure you get the right service at the right price!
3. Shop around
Don’t be afraid to shop around and compare prices from different lawyers.
You may be able to find a lawyer who can provide the same quality of service at a much lower cost!
Here’s why you need to shop around when it comes to legal services:
- Legal services can be expensive, and prices can vary significantly from one lawyer or legal service to another. By shopping around, you might be able to find a lawyer or law firm that offers competitive pricing.
- Different lawyers and legal services come with different areas of expertise. By shopping around, you can find the best lawyer or service for your specific needs.
- It’s important to find a lawyer or legal service that you feel comfortable working with and that has your ultimate best needs at heart. By shopping around, you can get a sense of the type of client experience you can expect to receive.
- The quality of legal services can vary significantly. By shopping around and speaking with multiple lawyers or legal services, you can get a sense of the level of service provided and choose the best one for you.
4. Hire a Lawyer Online
You can find just about any product or service online – including a lawyer!
Some of these services are nothing more than directories, whereas others will show you real life references and rate the lawyers themselves.
But remember, online legal services can vary widely in cost, and you don’t want to sacrifice on quality!
For example, on a service like UpWork you can post your legal request and get bids from all over the world.
You may even be able to find someone willing to work for less than $20 per hour!
But they may not be familiar with the US legal system or even be fully fluent in English…
So you’ve got to balance the good with the bad.
On the one hand, online platforms like Upwork offer a huge selection of lawyers with a variety of specialties and experience levels.
This can make it super easy to find a lawyer that’s a good fit for your needs.
And let’s not forget convenience!
Online platforms like Upwork allow you to search for and hire a lawyer from the comfort of your own home or office.
This can be particularly convenient in our increasingly remote world!
HOWEVER – you need to keep the following in mind when it comes to hiring a lawyer online:
- It can be pretty hard to gauge the quality of a lawyer’s work when hiring them online – but you can always take them for a trial run and see if you’re happy with the results.
- Working with a lawyer online can make it more challenging to communicate and collaborate effectively – especially with different time zones or potential language barriers.
- You might face legal or compliance issues – especially if they’re not licensed to practice law in your state or country.
Whether or not it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer online depends entirely on your specific needs and the lawyer’s qualifications and experience.
It can be a convenient and cost-effective option, but it’s important to carefully evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision!
5. Get organized
The more organized you are, the more efficiently your lawyer or legal service can provide your legal needs.
Gather all relevant documents and information in advance to help your lawyer work more efficiently and potentially save you money on legal fees.
Being organized can save you money on legal costs by facilitating all important clear communication.
Being organized can help you clearly communicate your legal needs and concerns to your lawyer, which minimizes any misunderstandings and reduces the need for additional clarification or communication.
This saves you money on legal fees by reducing the amount of time that your lawyer needs to spend on your work.
Being organized can help make the legal process as efficient and cost-effective as possible, saving you big bucks on your legal costs.
6. Negotiate fees
Many lawyers are open to negotiating their fees.
Consider negotiating a flat fee for specific projects, or even a set monthly fee rather than the traditional way of paying per hour worked.
And yes, you can ask about discounts. Some lawyers offer discounts to companies who are just starting out – so don’t be afraid to ask.
Just make sure to be respectful and professional at all times when negotiating!
Negotiating legal fees can help to ensure that you’re paying a fair price for the legal services you receive.
Here are a few steps that you can follow to negotiate your legal fees:
- Before you begin negotiating, it can be helpful to have a clear idea of your budget and what you are willing to pay for legal services.
- By speaking with multiple lawyers or law firms, you can get a sense of the different fees that are being charged for similar services.
- Once you’ve agreed the fee – be sure to get the agreement in writing to avoid any misunderstandings later on!
7. Use a law student
Another great way to save on your legal costs is to work with a law student.
Law students may be able to provide legal assistance at a lower cost than a licensed lawyer.
And a brand-new graduate of a US law school could be willing to work very affordably!
As well as being a highly cost-effective option for a business on a budget – there are additional advantages to working with a law student for your commercial legal needs.
Law students will have access to resources and support from their law school which can be helpful when handling complex legal issues.
They can also point you in the direction of online legal resources which can help you better understand your legal needs – and potentially even help you resolve your legal issue without the need for a lawyer.
Plus, they’ll be highly motivated to succeed and willing to go the extra mile to provide top class legal services.
However, you’d better keep the following in mind when working with a law student:
- Remember that they are still in training and will not have the same level of experience as a licensed lawyer – which can be a disadvantage when dealing with complex legal matters.
- Law students may have limited availability due to their school and other commitments – which can make it more difficult to discuss your ongoing legal needs.
- A law student will have zero or minimal real-world experience – so use with caution!
Overall, the choice to work with a law student for your legal needs depends on the specific needs of your business and the individual law student’s skills and experience.
It may be worth considering – but carefully evaluate the pros and cons before making a decision.
8. Find a Law Firm Willing to be Paid in Equity
Lots of law firms have benefited from investing in their clients.
There are a few reasons why a law firm might be willing to accept equity as payment for their services:
- You’re a startup or a small business that doesn’t have the funds to pay for legal services in cash.
- The law firm believes in the potential of your business and is willing to take on the risk in exchange for a potential future payout should your company be successful.
- The law firm is providing specialized legal services such as intellectual property issues or fundraising, and believes that taking equity in the business is a fair compensation for their expertise.
However, being a lawyer as well as a shareholder in business can create a conflict of interest!
Law firms can avoid this problem by creating separate funds to hold the equity and require their start-up clients to sign a waiver of any conflict claims.
Both the equity stake and the value of legal services to be provided in exchange can be capped. This is a potentially great way to save money on legal services in the short term.
But be sure you’re willing to give up some of your equity in the long run before going down this route!
9. Go to a Startup Legal Clinic
If your company is a new startup or early stage business venture – this one’s for you!
A number of law schools offer free or low-cost legal advice and help to early-stage businesses, a great way to save money on legal services.
Some of these clinics can be found at:
- Duke Law School (Durham, North Carolina)
- Santa Clara Law School (Santa Clara, California)
- Cardozo School of Law (New York City)
- University of Colorado – Boulder
- University of Michigan Law School (Ann Arbor, Michigan)
- Northwestern Law School (Chicago, Illinois)
- University of Washington School of Law (Seattle, Washington)
Check with your local law school if it’s not listed here.
Some incubators, accelerators, and universities also offer legal services to startups on a deferred payment model in exchange for providing an equity stake in the company.
But be careful about what you’re willing to give up in the long run!
10. Defer Fees
Some attorneys are willing to defer their fees until your business is more solidly established.
A growing number of law firms in Silicon Valley are willing to defer their fees until the closing date of your first round of financing.
The way it works is that the law firm takes on the risk that your financing may not close and therefore their lawyers won’t get paid.
The reasons why a law firm would be willing to defer their fees are similar to the reasons a lawyer would agree to be paid in equity (see number 8 above).
Similarly, a law firm may be willing to get paid on a “pay as you go” model – providing all of your company’s legal services in exchange for a percentage of your company’s monthly revenue.
This can be a useful option early on when revenue is still fluctuating.
Sounds too good to be true?
Get your facts straight and always read the fine print!
So there you have it – our 10 killer ways to save you a boatload of cash on your legal costs!
With the narrative around an impending recession moving beyond prediction to cold hard reality – there never was a more urgent time to start cutting your company’s costs.
You’ve got to start from the ground up and address every single facet of the business – and your legal costs are the best place to start!
But remember, you’ve got to evaluate your options carefully – because when it comes to legal, cutting on cost must never come at the price of cutting on quality.