By Gianna Huesch
A Western Australian family law firm may be referred to the Legal Practice Complaints Commission for investigation after charging a woman $470,000 in legal fees which the judge in her matter has described as “staggering”. Family Court judge Richard O’Brien said he had “serious concerns over the reasonableness of the fees charged by the wife’s solicitors”, some of which included:
“…charging the woman $1395.90 for attendance of a court hearing which lasted 23 minutes. The fee was raised for 2.7 hours work “to attend the hearing”.
…a charge of $2000 for attending the woman’s home to view and catalogue the contents of her safe.
…$1204.50 for three hours spent drafting a letter “reporting on attendance” of the trial, which the woman attended every day.”
Whilst this is the kind of scenario that gives lawyers a bad name, rest assured that it is uncommon and that most ethical law firms would not behave in this manner.
At Alliance, we are conscious that costs are naturally a major concern for you in managing your family law matter and we make a concerted effort to help you keep your legal costs down. There are a number of ways this is achieved.
How much you pay for a lawyer typically depends on their experience and qualifications, so cost savings are made when we ensure the appropriate people work on your matter. In terms of hourly rates, our research has found that our fees, whether for our lawyers or paralegals, are lower compared to other lawyers in Canberra. We also offer fixed and capped fees on many services.
The next gains are made through our efficiency. We make use of the latest efficiency-enhancing legal support software, run a largely paperless office (meaning less overheads and time spent on things like printing and filing), and we keep meetings to a minimum, utilising virtual communications to further save time and money.
Savings are also made through giving you the opportunity to undertake some of the work yourself, by giving you ‘homework’ and checklists for gathering information or providing information to the other side, which saves you paying us to do these things for you.
Importantly, we assist you to make good decisions about what to fight for and where to compromise and we help you to be flexible and creative in your approach. We strive to find you the fastest and most economical way to maximise your settlement, and always ensure your legal costs are kept reasonable.
You can read all about our fees here: https://www.familylawincanberra.com.au/fees/.
Do you need help with a divorce or other family law matter? Please contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our other experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance for a free first conference.