Legal advice is not a commodity that’s cheap. The cost of legal advice is a major obstacle to businesses and individuals getting the help they need. Understanding how lawyers charge for their services can help you to anticipate what to expect. We’ll go over all factors that affect legal fees so you know what to expect.
There are many rates lawyers charge. They range from a low hourly rate for junior lawyers to a high-paying $11,000 per day for experienced barristers. These differences are due to the seniority of the lawyer and their experience. Like many other industries, lawyers will charge more for their time if they have more experience.
Many people assume that lawyers who charge higher fees will provide better services. However, this is not always true. There are many factors that will affect the cost of your lawyer.
Several factors will determine the cost of your lawyer:
Your legal problem’s complexity
The experience level of the lawyer handling your case
Assistance provided by other staff members (i.e. Clerks and paralegals
How many stationary, documents, and other materials are being used?
How a barrister will be briefed
No matter how urgent your matter may be
The requirements of the law firm (set fees)
If any expert witnesses are called in to testify
A lawyer’s professional fees is the cost of their time, expertise and experience. Lawyers spend a lot of time studying the law to ensure that they get the best possible results for their clients. A lawyer must still spend time getting to know your case and finding the right legal solution. These fees do NOT include any incidentals like filing fees, search fees, copying, or stationary. Important to know that professional fees, which are not Court filing fees, attract GST. This means that 10% of your bill will be added.
Many lawyers charge their fees based on the time they spend working on your case. They charge according to the time they spend on your case. This is usually determined by an hourly rate. A junior lawyer might charge $330 an hour and a paralegal $190 per hour.
These are some of the most common hourly rates:
Principal or senior partner – $600 to $700 an hour
Associate – $350 to 450 an hour
Lawyers – $250 – $350 an hour
Junior lawyer – $200-250 per hour
Graduates – $150-250 per hour
Paralegals – $100 to 200 an hour
These rates usually experience a slight increase in inflation each year. It usually hovers between 10 and 15%.
A retainer fee is a payment that a lawyer may ask for when you hire them. If the lawyer will be working for you on an ongoing basis, retainer fees are quite common in law firms. The money, which can be as high as $5,000, is held in trust and used to pay fees when you have given express authorization or when you are unable to pay your bills. Remember that lawyers cannot use or reallocate these funds if you don’t have permission to do so or are not current on your legal bills.