Why do Legal Fees Cost so Much?

Lawyers charge for the amount of time that they spend working on your matter or communicating with you. Establish a system at the beginning of your relationship so that you know when to expect to hear from your lawyer and wait for them to get back to you rather than calling or emailing every day.

No two legal matters are exactly alike so you pay for the time it takes your lawyer to customise everything to suit you. They might start with useful precedents, but they will still have to consider every word against the outcome that you want to achieve.

The law is vast. There are thousands of Commonwealth laws and thousands of laws enacted by each state and territory as well as unwritten law known as ‘common law’. No one lawyer can be expected to know the details of every law, or the details of the hundreds of thousands of court cases which tell lawyers how the courts interpret those laws. Lawyers need time to work out what is best for you and you pay for that time.

A lot of people don’t appreciate how much time is involved in preparing legal letters or documents. In preparing documents lawyers need to consider the short and long term strategies of your matter and how the document they prepare could be interpreted by someone else. There are very few absolutes in law. The law is not black and white and is open to interpretation, so there may be times when your lawyer agonises over whether or not to use particular words simply because of the way they think the court or another party might react. Consider how long it would take you to write the script of a television show and what you would need to know about the theme and the characters before you could.

Time is money and it takes time to tailor legal advice specifically for you.

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One Response to “Why do Legal Fees Cost so Much?”

  1. Dierdre November 18, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Thanks for these pointers.

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