- During the initial consultation, we will determine the nature of your problem, see whether we can help you and, if so, at what cost.
- We offer alternative billing arrangements such as agreeing on a fixed fee up front, that will give you peace of mind by assuring that you won’t be met with unexpected legal fees.
- If you are happy to entrust us with your legal work, we will need you to supply us with certain information, so that we comply with Section 21 of the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, No. 38 of 2001.
- We require you to sign our engagement letter so that the scope of the work, the method of calculating the fee and the payment terms are in writing. This is in terms of Sections 37(7) – (9) of the Legal Practice Act that requires us to provide you – and for you to accept – in writing, an outline of the work to be done and a cost estimate notice in respect of the envisaged legal services. You are entitled to negotiate the proposed fees. If you win a case, you will not recover all the fees you pay us. See this article.
We also offer a retainer-based plan for clients who “outsource” and consider us their external legal counsel.
A retainer-based arrangement involves hiring us to provide agreed legal services at a specified monthly fee. The services are pre-established between you and our firm and are detailed in a retainer agreement. Generally, retainers exist for a specified length of time — 6 months or 1 year — and have a pre-determined fee, which is divided into consistent monthly payments and billed at the start of each month.
These are some of the advantages of retainer-based arrangements:
- You can budget for your legal fees and won’t be billed per hour or per matter;
- You build a long-term relationship with our law firm;
- You have an outsourced law firm on your side, for much less than in would cost you to hire an in-house lawyer.
To assure satisfaction we:
- Promise an honest and frank assessment of your case.
- Set expectations with you up front (what you expect and the likelihood of achieving it).
- Define the scope of our mandate.
- Determine what features or services are important to you.
Can’t afford legal fees?
If you cannot afford the services of an attorney, you do have other options:
Legal Aid SA provides professional legal advice and representation to those who can’t afford it (if you are unemployed, or are employed, but your take-home pay is under R 5,500.00 per month).
Attorneys in South Africa provide 24 hours per year of pro bono (free) legal assistance to indigent members of the public on a compulsory basis. Pro bono is administered by the four provincial law societies where attorneys are registered. See www.probono.org.za