The issue of legal fees is arguably one of the most pressing questions surrounding this profession. However, there is no hidden secret behind the subject which owes its notoriety, as it often does, to the lack of clear communication between market players.
To date and in summary, lawyers generally invoice their services according to the hourly rate, according to a flat rate or even according to a “success fee” formula. One or the other recent model offers monthly subscription packages, but the practice remains completely “anecdotal” and mainly targets advice in certain matters conducive to flat-rate fees, which remains an exception. While a very large majority of lawyers therefore invoice their services at an hourly rate (EUR / h), it is therefore also possible to operate according to a flat-rate or pay-per-success formula, but these practices are less widespread.
The question of the pricing of lawyers’ services raises a lot of debate but turns out to be a complex question to resolve (see (reference MANAGING LAWYER)). It can be assumed that to date, despite recurring questions, no other method seems reasonably possible. The valuation of time remains the benchmark.
WHAT DO WE PAY THROUGH LAWYER FEES
Understanding what a tariff entails can be made easier by understanding the costs incurred by a lawyer in order to practice his profession. Certainly in a market where prices can vary from 50.00 EUR/h to more than 800.00 or 900.00 EUR/h depending on the lawyers involved.
These costs are the cost of the lawyer’s office first. This is not trivial because the lawyer is required, by his ethics, to have an office allowing the correct exercise of his profession, which implies constraints and costs of premises with regard to which the lawyer has not all freedom.
A lawyer must also acquire working tools and this item can vary greatly depending on the lawyer and the area of law concerned. Like any professional, a lawyer is equipped with typical office tools (office, computer, printer, etc.) but the profession has become very complex over time. Laws are multiplying, Europe is adding directives, regulations, States sign supranational treaties, … and moreover, judges are backlogged but they are also multiplied in number, administrative commissions are also increasing in number.
It should therefore be emphasized that the profession of the lawyer requires being able to have access to this gigantic quantity of information but also to be able to find in this impressive mass of resources those that are relevant, and spend time studying them and analyzing them. It represents a significant investment in hours which are not billed to customers but that require time.
The public (and therefore free of charges) tools offer very limited possibilities which would not suffice for lawyers so that they are often required to take subscriptions to IT tools helping them researching and analyzing the quantity of information to be mastered in order to be able to provide a correct and exhaustive legal opinion. Knowing that some subscriptions to specialized databases can cost up to 50,000.00 EUR per year, it becomes easier to understand that the lawyer has to pass these costs in a certain way to the clients if the latter is willing to be profitable.
BUT SO HOW CAN YOU ENSURE A RIGHT PRICE?
It is often assumed that a fair price is the price the “market” is willing to pay for the service or product. The law of demand remains one of the most stable fundamentals in our fast moving societies.
uLaw was created to provide, among other things, transparency to lawyers’ clients regarding legal fees and costs, through (a.o.) ensuring the formation of a ‘fair price’.
uLaw indeed allows clients to receive several work proposals, accompanied by a breakdown of the milestones and the price envisaged for each stage.
uLaw has developed the first (and the only one to date) interface for posting request for proposals in order to collect offers from competent lawyers, accompanied by a detailed price proposal and a clear view on the profile of the lawyer.
This transparency is made possible by an exclusive objective and reliable rating system for lawyer profiles and by the uLaw work method which provides for agreed structure of the cases, where each step is detailed and priced, for total predictability.