So, your employer has offered you a settlement agreement. You weren’t expecting it and you may not even want it. You just want to accept what they’re offering you and walk away.
You then find out that you’ve got to get legal advice on it. Isn’t that just an unnecessary expense? Your employer may be offering to contribute towards the cost of it but will that contribution cover the cost in full?
Here are three questions you should ask when deciding which solicitor to use.
1. Do you offer a free consultation?
Many law firms will offer some initial advice without charging you anything at all. This gives you the opportunity to ask any questions and will help you to decide whether or not this is the right solicitor for you.
In the course of that consultation, you can ask what you are likely to be charged if you decide to use that particular firm. Make sure you get the details in writing, preferably by email.
2. Will the overall fee be more than the amount your employer is contributing for legal advice on the settlement agreement?
Many solicitors agree to limit their fee to what the employer is contributing, which means that there’s no cost to you. Effectively, you get to use the services of a lawyer for free.
However, some solicitors still charge at an hourly rate for all types of work, even legal advice on a settlement agreement. You can’t be certain what the overall charge to you will be. It may or may not be less than the employer is contributing. If it’s more, you’ll probably have to pay the difference yourself.
Unless you’re prepared to pay the extra to use that particular lawyer, the hourly rate approach is probably not what you want.
3. Are there any hidden costs?
Depending on what your employer is contributing towards your legal costs, it may be that your solicitor will need to charge more if they negotiate or propose alterations to the document. Ask about this in advance.
If an additional charge does become necessary, your solicitor can still ask the employer to increase its contribution towards the legal costs with the aim that there’s still no charge to you.
If you have been offered a settlement agreement and would like some free initial advice, contact us for a consultation. Complete the form below and we’ll give you a call back.