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Lawyers can charge clients with a variety of different pricing models, including hourly, retainer and fixed-fees. Traditional law firms charge an hourly rate, which can end up being quite costly depending on the complexity of the work. Moreover, you may not have an estimate of how much your work is going to cost until you receive a bill at the end. It is now more common to be charged fixed-fees – this means you are aware of the full cost upfront when you engage the firm, which provides you with price certainty and transparency.

How Much Does a Fixed-Fee Lawyer Cost?

The benefit of a fixed-fee is that you will pay a set amount for the services you require. This flat rate allows you to easily compare the cost of different legal service providers. Below is a pricing guide for common fixed-fee matters.

Type of ProjectCost
Drafting a Privacy Policy$600 + GST
Incorporating a Company$600 + GST
Registering a Trade Mark$1500 + GST
Drafting a Letter of Demand$1500 + GST
Reviewing a Commercial Lease$2500 + GST
Drafting a Sales Terms and Conditions$2500 + GST
Drafting a Shareholders Agreement$3000 + GST

While it may be tempting to download a legal document template online, engaging a law firm to draft your document will ensure the document covers your specific needs and circumstances.

Lawyer Hourly Rates in Australia

Many law firms continue to charge hourly rates. Their hourly rate can vary depending on their experience, the speciality of the area and the law firm’s overheads. In Australia, hourly rates for lawyers range from:

  • Junior lawyer: $200 – $250 per hour
  • Senior lawyer: $250 – $400 per hour
  • Practice leader or partner: $400 – $600 per hour

Costs Agreement

When you engage a law firm, you will be required to sign a costs agreement. Each state and territory has different laws that set out what the costs agreement must contain. Generally, the agreement will set out how the firm will structure the costs for any legal work. For small matters (less than $750 before disbursements and GST in NSW), a firm may not give you a costs agreement.

A costs agreement will commonly set out:

  • The fixed amount that will be charged by the firm; or
  • An estimate of legal fees and how they are calculated

You must ensure you obtain the costs agreement in writing.

Disputing a Legal Bill

If you have received a legal bill that you do not agree with, it is advised you speak to the lawyer or law firm first to resolve the matter. If you are unable to negotiate the bill to a lower price, you can contact your local state Legal Services Board, Legal Services Commission or Law Society.

Key Takeaways

The shift away from hourly fees to fixed-fees gives clients now more control over their legal spend. If you are engaging a law firm, it is advised you try to obtain a fixed-fee or costs estimate first. Also, ensure you obtain a costs agreement in writing. If you have a commercial law matter and require fixed-fee legal assistance, call us on 1300 544 755 or fill out the form on this page.

How much does a lawyer cost in Australia?

The cost of a lawyer will depend on what legal advice you need. Fixed-fees can vary from $250 upwards while hourly rates vary between $200 – $600 per hour.

How much should an initial consultation cost?

Some law firms charge clients for an initial consultation fee before they know their legal options. Client-centric law firms such as LegalVision offer free consultations and free fixed-fee quotes.

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