How Do You Determine Your Billing Rates As a Lawyer?

How a law firm or lawyer chooses to price their billing will have a meaningful impact on client acquisition and the financial bottom line. While the field of law is unique, the method of determining pricing structures is similar to that of most businesses. Three methods are usually considered:

  • Pricing Based on Competition - This method determines price based on billing rates of competition.
  • Pricing Based On Cost - Using this price method allows lawyers and law firms to assign pricing based on business overhead costs. Very useful calculators can be found online to assist in calculating all costs and percentages to give you a realistic pricing base for your billing.
  • Pricing Based on Customer Valued - This pricing method determines price based on the unique value of a customer to the lawyer or law firm.

What sets lawyer and law firm pricing structures apart is how the client will be billed for any legal work. Following the pricing method determination, the following billing options will need to be considered:

  • Contingency - When a lawyer or law firm bills based on contingency, it virtually eliminates the need for predetermined cost and instead follows a percentage. Using this model, a portion of the end recovery for a client is charged. This means a vastly different charge is procured with each case.
  • Hourly - One of the most popular and traditional methods of billing within the legal community is hourly. Following setting a predetermined hourly rate, lawyers and law firms will then charge according to time spent working on a case or consulting with the client.
  • Fixed Fee or Retainer - A fixed rate is a predetermined total cost for a case that is charged by a lawyer or law firm, Similarly, when a lawyer collects a retainer, it’s essentially a percentage of the total price being paid as a downpayment upfront. 

Historic Billing Rates

Rates and fees charged vary greatly depending on the field of law and the type and complexity of the case; That being said, there are certain averages that can be reflected within historic billing rates. We’ve listed some examples below:

  • Hourly Billing Rates - Hourly rates usually begin at $100 per hour, depending on the case and experience of the lawyer or law firm handling the case. Generally, for less experienced lawyers and firms the rates range from $100 - $200. For more experienced lawyers and law firms, rates can average from $200 - $400.
  • Fixed Fee Billing Rates - For certain common projects and cases, such as divorce or will establishment, lawyers and law firms will often charge a set rate. Fixed rates charged will vary widely depending on the area of law; For instance, the cost of a basic will and testament can run about $300, whereas a prenup preceding a marriage can average $1,000.
  • Retainer Billing Rates - Because a retainer is an upfront percentage of the expected overall cost of a case or project, the amounts can vary greatly - averages tend to begin around $2,000 and can go as high as $100,000. 
  • Consultation Billing Rates - Quite often, initial consultations are not billed by lawyers and law offices. Typically, if a consultation fee is charged, it can range from $50 to $100 per hour.
  • Contingency Fee Percentage Billing Rates - Contingency fee percentages vary based on the type and size of case. Percentages can range from 15% for large cases up to 50% for smaller cases.

Once rates and billing methods have been determined, it’s very important that a law firm periodically reassesses based on factors that contribute to their pricing structure. For instance, for pricing based on cost law firms should ensure that overhead costs and budgets coincide with pricing. Law firms basing pricing structure through competition should also scout for any changes that can and will impact pricing.

Pricing structure set and looking for a way to maximize your legal billing? We've got all the information you need right here.


Hire Us to Manage Your Tech

With Exceptional Tech Support

24 / 7 Help Desk

Let's face it, downtime, hiccups and technical challenges are unavoidable in every business and they can be frustrating and downright costly.

Our Solution

  • Any time 24/7 access to live person that can help
  • Proficient help desk staff means quick resolution
  • We are very friendly
  • Dedicated consultants that understand your environment

Software Challenges

  • Every small business relies on a handful of software to operate smoothly  (Outlook, Office 365, G-Suite, MS Office, Word, Excel, Adobe Acrobat, Cloud Software, QuickBooks)
  • Software needs updates, can be buggy and just simply doesn’t always work
  • Employees may need a hand in getting something done (exporting printing as PDF, shrinking an image, etc.)

Our Solution

  • We manage your software 
  • Your users can open tickets and we can help them live 
  • Software updates are all done by us

The Challenge with Laptops

  • Computers Break
  • Laptops get lost or stolen
  • Need to be replaced periodically and requires budgeting and installations costs

Our Solution

  • Desktops are Automatic and cloud based
  • No desktop or stolen laptop issues
  • Hardware is seamlessly upgraded
  • Performance is guaranteed

Malware is a Real Problem

  • Small Business are infected by viruses and malware at unprecedented levels
  • Malware can cost you money to fix if you are lucky to recover your data
  • Data leaks and breaches can put you out of business

Our Solution

  • Our seucirty packages are standard and include anti-malware
  • Employee controls are in place to prevent installation or download of malicious software
  • We are fast at identifying and responding to incidents to minimize any damage
  • Backups are automatic with every plan so you will never lose your data.

The Challenge with Printers

  • Printers run out of ink
  • Printers suddenly stop printing
  • Printers fall offline

Our Solution

  • Our staff is on standby to support your printers 24/7
  • We identify root causes to printer issues to avoid recurring problems.

Vendor Challenges

  • Too many tech vendors to manage (ISPs, Software vendors, hardware, apps)
  • Creating tickets is time consuming and frustrating process
  • Many issues are left unresolved with vendors because of poor support

Our Solution

  • We provide 24/7 support on your vendors
  • We open tickets for you and follow up till resolution
  • Our existing relationships with vendors allows us to efficiently navigate the vendor support process

Employee Management Challenges

  • Employee on-boarding is time consuming (emails, desktops, software) all need to be setup for new employees
  • Employees may encounter issues with access, logins, password. Their downtime can be costly
  • Departing employees require data to be transferred, laptops returned, accounts locked, etc, passwords changed

Our Solution

  • Our cloud option provide quick user setup for new employees meaning quick employee on boarding
  • We lock down the employees that leave and document the changes made

The Need for Monitoring

  • Monitoring is an essential component of any technology-dependent small business
  • Small businesses don’t usually invest in monitoring although it is a key component in preventing issues from happening (such as disk space, updates, high CPU pegs, and other connectivity issues)

Our Solution

  • Monitoring is built into our service, therefore you don’t have to plan, invest or worry about setting things up
  • Monitoring means smoother business operations, we reach out to you before a problem occurs

The Audit Challenge

  • As a small business owner, it is important to be able to prove accountability for compliance or employee reviews
  • Today’s small business don’t have any insight into who is doing what on the system and lack of visibility can mean higher risk

Our Solution

  • Our system is equipped to log every user’s account access from email access to desktop log-ons
  • We can provide you with reports that you need 

Learn about Legal Workspaces