How do lawyers charge?

Lawyers charge for their work by the hour, by set fee or contingency.

  1. Most family lawyers charge by the hour. As of 2015, lawyers on average who just started their practice charged $230/hr and those with more than 20 years of experience averaged $400/hr. Uncontested divorce on average cost $2,164. A two day family trial cost on average $19,995 and a 5 day trial would set you back on average $33,425.
  2. Some lawyers charge by transaction e.g. you may pay $750.00 for the sale of your house or you may pay $1,000.00 to have your Wills drafted.
  3. In personal injury practice the fees are charged at the end of your case when the insurance company whose insured was at fault pays the money for your settlement. The prevalent rate is 25% – 35%. You will not have to pay your lawyer until your case is concluded.

What about the cost of mediation?

Mediators frequently charge per session that may consist of 2-3 hours so it is common to be charged $1,000.00 for half a day or double the amount for a full day. It is important to keep in mind that usually the cost of mediation is shared so each party pays much less to the mediator than they would pay to their lawyer.

Before you pay any money at the beginning for legal or mediation service always ensure that you have an agreement in writing (e.g. Retainer Agreement or Contingency Agreement) which clarifies how you will be charged.

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