Are lawyers expensive?
This depends on the value that the solicitor or law firm is adding to your team and the level of service.
Successive Governments have tried to contain the costs of litigation with measures such as increasing the limit in small claims cases to £10,000, the introduction of fixed costs in certain types of case of a certain value and in regulatory matters, restricting the ability of a successful defendant to seek payment of their costs from central funds.
The rules generally apply to the recovery of costs i.e. what, if anything, the Court may order the losing party to pay the winner. However, most cases are not decided by a Court (about 93% of civil claims are settled out of Court) and save for any applicable legislation, and the solicitors code of conduct, a law firm generally has a wide discretion as to what it can charge in any given case. As a point of caution, where a party is successful in a dispute, they are no guaranteed to recover all of their legal costs from the losing party (in fact, this is rare), and they are usually required to pay their solicitor the balance between what is paid to the solicitor and what is recovered from the opponent, assuming the opponent has the means to pay.
Providing a high standard of legal advice and representation is a minimum requirement of any law firm. After all, it is what the practice is paid to do.
In answer to the question of whether lawyers are expensive, we believe that is relative to the service provided. You therefore need to consider the following questions:
1. Are they experts and experienced in the area of law relating to the case or matter?
2. Do they go the 'extra mile'?
3. Do they care about you, your business, what you do and your needs?
4. Are they approachable, considerate and compassionate?
5. Are they considered to be a trusted and valued member of your organisation? In other words, are they the 'go to' firm.
6. Are you able to contact them anytime, including evenings and weekends, at your convenience?
7. Do they respond quickly to your emails and/or calls?
8. Do they explain complex legal issues in plain, easy to understand, language without jargon?
9. Do they provide regular updates?
10. Saving the best 'til last, do you have a good relationship with them? Working with a lawyer who you may not particularly like as a person or get along with, is likely to cause issues in the relationship at some point.
These are some of the many questions that will help determine whether you believe your solicitor or law firm is expensive.