Solicitors. Good or bad, solicitors will be billing you from anywhere between £180.00 - £350.00 per hour depending where solicitors are located in the country.
However there are around 5% of solicitors who cannot obtain indemnity insurance and in order for them to continue to practise, their only course is to join an indemnity scheme with The Law Society and they must pay 25% of their gross income into that scheme. You can draw your own conclusions.
A typical practice will consist of at least one senior partner, solicitors, perhaps a trainee solicitor(s) and legal executive(s). Their charge out rates all differ, from senior partner charging the highest to the legal executive being the lowest.
For round figures, let's say you are going to be charged at £300.00 per hour, which equates to £5.00 per minute. Be aware solicitors will charge you in increments of 6 minutes, so, if you spend 7 minutes on the phone with them, solicitors will bill you at 12 minutes (£60.00).
One unscrupulous Solicitor billed my client 18 minutes for his first phone call to them to arrange an appointment !!!
Solicitors will draft a contract for you to sign. It sets out their terms of business. You must read all of it, paying particular attention to the work they refer to and what the likely fees will be. For example, you may state you have a budget of £3000.00, to which the solicitor agrees to charge, but the contract may state their own fees will be around £3000.00, look for the exclusions such as disbursement fees (postage, stationary and other incidentals), counsel fees (which could be very expensive) and these will be billed even if the total amount exceeds £3000.00.
Your solicitor is responsible to inform you at any given time if he feels he will exceed the agreed figure of £3k. Your solicitor must also review your case in reference to fees once a month.
If you make any agreements to exceed the intial figure, get this in writing, asking what the extra costs are for. You must be on your toes and ask for interim bills as you go with a "bill log" detailing every single charge. If there is something you don't understand on your bills, then call your solicitor and ask for an explanation. Make a note when you call, the date, time and length of call. You may find on your next bill, that your solicitor has charged you for the explanation.
Above all, before you contact your solicitor, make notes beforehand, to enable you to focus on the points you wish to discuss and to keep the conversation short. (Time is your money).
Your legal fees charged by your solicitor must be porportional to your case.
It is important you are aware, if you enter into litigation and end up in court, and you win and are awarded costs, you may not get all of them back. A District Judge can decide that your firm of solicitors charged too much for some of the work they did, and therefore the Judge has the power to reduce your solicitor's costs.
You must watch the fees as your case progresses.
Just to mention that a client came to me regarding a problem with his solicitor. He went for an initial meeting and was quoted £6000.00 excluding counsel fees and disbursements.
My client paid this solicitor just over £20,000.00 under protest and then he served my client a County Court Summons for a further £28,000.00. I perused all my client's paperwork including the solicitor's bill of costs to find inconsistencies in the billing and that he had been poorly advised by that solicitor.
I entered a defence against the summons and commenced a procedure against the firm of solicitors for professional negligence. We are now at a stage where the firm of solicitors have "stayed" their action, as I instigated a complaint with the Law Society.
As a result of the investigation, the Law Society ruled that the solicitors must reduce their costs to my client and were not entitled to any further payments.
If you have feel you been poorly advised by a solicitor and wish to seek redress, then contact me by going to my
I will then contact you as a matter of urgency