Is it best to pay solicitors by an hourly rate?
Depending on the case solicitors firms will often prefer to charge a standard hourly rate for their services. This may sometimes mean unpredictable costs as it may not be easy to estimate exactly how many hours will be spent on a case. This unpredictability can be compounded due to unique circumstances that may surrounding each case, or any aspect of the case which might be contentious.
Take for example a divorce case where both parties are collaborating amicably to reach a settlement so that as few hours as possible are be spent by the solicitor as they work on the case.
For this reason, a solicitor must give you a cost estimate at the outset, usually at or after the first interview. Make sure this first interview is free. When you receive the quote based on an hourly rate, you should try to agree a fixed spending limit in writing. By doing this, if the solicitor subsequenly believes costs look likely to go over this limit they should contact you to warn you. Without any such limit, you run the danger of letting the fees escalate – and this can happen very quickly.
Usually the more experienced a solicitor the more you should expect to spend on solicitors fees. A solicitor with 4 years experience for example will have a lower hourly rate than a solicitor with over 10 years experience.
Also when considering hourly solicitors fees keep in mind too that every phone call you make to a solicitor will be charged so if you want to keep your solicitor costs downs ensure you only make calls when necessary.
What hourly rates do Solicitors charge?
There is no straight answer to this. Accross the many specialist areas of law, different scales apply, and the seniority of the solicitor needed for your case will have a significant effect on the final bill. Rates in the large cities are also significantly higher than elsewhere.
Rarely do hourly rates dip below £100 per hour for the most junior of staff, while senior solicitors are usually charged at a rates over £200. You can see that its vital to know both the hourly rate of the person dealing with your case – it certainly concentrates the mind when dealing with them.