At Black Bear Legal I endeavour to go out of my way to ensure you understand your legal costs upfront and before you start engaging us to do any work for you.
Indeed, the last thing I want is to have a client complain about their costs because it means they have not found value in the legal services I have provided to them, which is always my goal.
We have previously published answers to 10 Questions to Ask Your Lawyer on Legal Costs which provides you more details on our billing practices.
My time (as Lawyer/Director) spent on your legal matter is charged to you at $440 per hour (including GST) and is charged on a time-basis such that you will be charged in 6-minute intervals with six minutes being the minimum interval recorded for legal services. For example, the time charged for an attendance of up to six minutes will be 1-unit ($44) and the time charged for an attendance between six and twelve minutes will be 2-units ($88).
Here is what we don’t charge clients for:
An hourly charge is not the only way we calculate fees, for certain matters and in certain circumstances, we offer a fixed fee for a matter or a particular task within a matter.
There is no standard fee charged by lawyers and each law firm will determine their own hourly fees based on various factors, including experience, seniority, speciality, overhead costs, location and of course just general market conditions and how competitive lawyers are in the area.
However, a word of warning: the fee a lawyer charges is not a reflection of their expertise or skill, you do not just get a better lawyer by paying more for them.
The Queensland Government produces schedules within the Uniform Civil Procedure Rules that govern the amount of legal costs that can be recovered by a successful party in litigation. Whilst it is not as simple as picking an hourly rate, those schedules at least provide some benchmark to understanding the effect a lawyer’s hourly rate has on recoverable costs:
So, in general, the ‘gap’ you might pay between your lawyer’s costs and what can be recoverable will be more – the more you pay your lawyer over the general allowances mentioned above.
Lastly, what fees are reasonable are better analysed in terms of the value you get from the particular lawyer, not their base charge out rates. For time-billed matters, the value you get comes from what the lawyer can produce within a certain timeframe. For instance, a lawyer who charges $300 per hour but spends 2 hours to write a letter will cost you more than the lawyer who charges $500 per hour but only takes 30 minutes to write the same letter.
This is where our tips to finding the right lawyer come into play regarding choosing someone bespoke. The time a lawyer takes to do a task is greatly reduced by their familiarity with the task at hand and the less time they take, the less cost to you, often regardless of their base hourly rate.
As mentioned, comparing base hourly rates is a poor way to compare the service being offered between 2 lawyers. Here’s our tips for getting the balance between value and cost right:
We focus on civil litigation and consider our legal services provide great value for our clients. Take a look at our article on the type of legal work we do (and not do) and feel free to call us or make an appointment and utilise our free initial consultation to talk about your issues and find out why you might want to choose us to help you with your legal issues.
DISCLAIMER: The above article was written at a specific point in time in the past and is provided as general guidance only. It is not intended to be specific legal advice to any person’s particular circumstances who may be reading it. We do not recommend you use this article as a replacement for obtaining proper legal advice on your issue and encourage anyone reading the article to obtain legal advice to ensure the above information and guidance remains valid and suits your particular circumstance. In our experience, there is no ‘one size fits all’ to legal problems!