Imagine you are starting a business. You have a product and you are very proud of it. It took you a lot of time to develop it and you stay on top of changes and developments so you generally have the freshest product around.
How do you price it?
One way is to look at all the costs that go into it. In the practice of law that includes rent for the office, books that can cost over a thousand dollars each and need to be updated each year or two. Staff who get paid for their good work and other people who work for us ( outside professionals, Marshals, etc.) Search engines that can cost many hundreds of dollars each month (sorry google just doesn’t cut it.) Constant training to keep up with changes. That goes for the staff as well as the attorney!
Then we look at what it is we sell. What we have is our knowledge and we sell it by the unit time. whether it is applying our knowledge to your issues or researching to find a better law or a better way to fit the issues to the law, it all takes time. Our paralegals charging at a lower rate than the attorney helps to keep things down, and in the end, it all has to go to the Attorney to be coordinated and approved.
If you look at similar professions you see how that can work. Usually, doctors offices cost thousands of dollars an hour to run, but insurance pays and we don’t see the total cost of our purchase. Yes, purchase for that is what it is. You hire your doctor or lawyer but what you are doing is purchasing their abilities and knowledge.
All Lawyers give a statement up front that tells you what they are doing for how much. Read your retainer well. Even a contingent retainer may have some costs to you in it. Ask questions about the retainer. this is the guiding document for how you are charged.