Solicitor Hourly Rate

Who Sets Solicitors' Hourly Rates

The solicitor’s hourly rate charged to a client is a matter for negotiation and free economy. It is not set by any rule or regulation and can be whatever the client and solicitor agree provided the client's agreement is based on informed choice. This does not mean the solicitor has to tell the client what everyone else charges, but the client needs to understand and appreciate the amount is not set and other solicitors may charge different rates.

What Are Guideline Hourly Rates?

Guideline hourly rates are issued by HM Courts and Tribunal Service (HMC&TS) and used when the court is asked to assess the costs of a solicitor by the other side, when they have been ordered to pay that solicitor’s costs. As the name suggests, they are only guidelines and higher or lower rates may be allowed and are used as a yardstick. They do not apply between a solicitor and their own client as they are based on the contract between them.

What Does The Solicitors' Hourly Rate Cover?

Historically the hourly rate covered the cost of the solicitor (33.3%), the office overheads (33.3%) and a profit element (33.3%). More recently it has become much more a question of what the market will pay, or sometimes what the market will bear.

Do Solicitors Always Charge By The Hour?

Why Charge By The Hour?

Most solicitors are assessed on their billing rates which calculate the amount of money they bring into their firm divided by the number of hours they work and hourly rates drive this indicator. However, the basis for their charges can vary greatly from fixed fees to conditional fee agreements. You need to discuss all the options available before you instruct them to act for you.

Should The Hourly Rate Affect Your Choice Of Solicitor?

Solicitors’ services are usually comparatively expensive and as such you should give your choice as much thought as you would to purchasing an expensive item, so do some research and make an informed decision.

The hourly rate your lawyer will charge should not be the only deciding factor on who you instruct. One of the reasons more experienced lawyers can charge more, is their greater experience often means they will achieve a better result, having spent less time getting it. Overall the legal charges may therefore be lower.

Whether you are reading this as part of your research before instructing a solicitor or because things have gone wrong, please feel free to call or email us to discuss your particular situation – the initial chat is free.