Do You Know How Your Lawyer is Charging You?

Mar 17, 2023   ·   5 minute read
Do You Know How Your Lawyer is Charging You?

At Evolve Family Law we believe in being upfront about charges. That helps you and us.

Being open about legal charges means you know how much your family lawyer or private client solicitor is charging you. In this article, founder Robin Charrot offers insight into some of the outmoded charging structures used by most law firms and explains how the Evolve pricing philosophy is different.

For expert advice on divorce and family law call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.

Units of time

For work that is charged on a ‘time spent’ basis, all other law firms that Evolve’s lawyers have ever come across charge per hour, but using 6-minute ‘units’ of time.

So, if a phone call takes 2 minutes you get charged for 6 minutes of your solicitor’s time and with a 7-minute call you get charged for 12 minutes of your lawyer’s hourly rate, and so on. That may strike you as unfair. We agree. Evolve has been charging in ‘units’ of 1 minute since we started in business set up our offices in Holmes Chapel and North Manchester. That means if something takes a minute, you only get charged for a minute of our time, with the charge based on our published hourly rates.

Fixed fees or units of time billing

At Evolve Family Law we offer some of our services on a fixed fee basis and other services are charged on a time-spent basis. Evolve was one of the first law firms in the country to publish our fixed fees and hourly rates on our website.

Some of our family law and private client work is particularly suited to fixed fee charging, such as:

  • Divorce
  • Agreed financial court orders
  • Standard Wills
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney
  • Preliminary advice on prenups or postnups

For a full list of our fixed-fee services take a look here.

Other types of family law work are not possible to charge on a fixed fee basis. For example, some child arrangement order applications involve 1 or 2 hearings whilst others involve the instruction of experts and several more court hearings, such as a finding of fact hearings and a welfare hearing. Likewise, a contested divorce financial settlement hearing may take a day or a week of court time for the judge to decide on the appropriate financial court order because of the complexity of the assets and the parties’ circumstances.

As every family situation is different it isn’t possible to devise a fair fixed fee structure for all types of family law work as the couples who decide to settle early or limit the points in dispute would be penalised as the fixed fees would need to encompass the whole range of straightforward or complex children law or financial court proceedings. In addition, it isn’t always readily apparent when first instructed, just how complicated matters are. For example, a spouse may try to hide assets in financial settlement court proceedings or a children’s law application for a child arrangement order may involve allegations of parental alienation.

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How does unit of time billing work?

We welcome questions about how our fees work as we believe it is best to be clear and upfront about costs so you know how the unit of time billing works and can budget for legal services.

Our family law solicitors and private client lawyers’ hourly rates are published on our website and contained in our client care information. Each minute is charged at the fee earners’ hourly charge-out rate.

When you first contact us, you may have been recommended to a particular solicitor or you may be happy to be guided by us as to who would be best placed to help you so we match your needs with the most cost-effective fee earner for you.

Although you will always have a named solicitor working for you, we make sure that if we can delegate work to a junior fee earner we do so. For example, whilst you may need the knowledge and experience of a specialist child abduction solicitor who has handled lots of complex children law proceedings there is no reason why they should be preparing a court bundle when it is cheaper for you if one of our junior solicitors or paralegals assists with this type of task.

At Evolve Family Law we are acutely conscious that unit-of-time billing works to the advantage of slow solicitors who take their leisure over completing legal paperwork. We don’t operate like that. Whilst we deliver an excellent standard of legal help we don’t ponder whilst the clock ticks away. We are efficient because we know that our clients have a right to expect that when they are paying by the minute. Our efficiency and level of client service are rewarded not just in prompt payment but by clients recommending us to their friends and family.

For expert help with divorce and family law call our team of specialist divorce lawyers or complete our online enquiry form.