In response to the blog article “The Truth about Free Initial Consultations”, we were asked:
I read your blog article about free initial consultations where you noted that lawyers typically charge $205 to $350 per hour. How are the $205/hour lawyers compared to the $350/hour lawyers?
Dear Just Asking:
Such a good question. I’ve experienced great lawyers who bill $200 per hour and terrible lawyers who bill at $400. Really, this is the reason I’m ditching the billable hour at Taproot! I’ve always felt a little icky trying to value one hour of a person’s life, which is a longer discussion for another day.
According to Michigan Model Civil Jury Instruction, attorney fees can vary, and hourly rates are set by individual attorneys and firms according to twelve “reasonableness factors” ranging from time and labor required to the experience and ability of the attorney or law firm. The Economics of Law survey, which I cited in my blog post, is a tool used to understand some of these factors and aspects of the legal economy.
A similar question I’m often asked is whether a court-appointed attorney is as good as a high-priced one. There is a good chance that they are both good lawyers – just trying to help you navigate the legal system with their own style. If lower-priced legal services are available, it is probably worth checking out. You will probably gain more information about the process and take your next steps, even if it is not a full-traditional representation.
We are letting go of billable hours for a variety of reasons, but one important reason is that it sends mixed signals on the value a client’s needs. We moved to flat-fee services because we believe our services should be transparent and affordable and this kind of fee structure is a way to accomplish those goals. Check out our website for more information on the coaching and Make-it-Legal services we offer and their pricing.
Have another legal question you’re curious about? Send them to us and we’ll do our best to answer!