We are committed to providing access to justice at affordable prices. We are in the process of converting as many of our routine legal services as we can to predicable fixed pricing, see examples of our fixed pricing in Wills and Later Life Services Pricing and in some of our Conveyancing Pricing.
Not all legal work can be undertaken for a fixed fee.
Where a fixed fee is not appropriate we will always provide you with an estimate of our fees, either immediately after being first instructed or as soon as possible after receiving sufficient information to make an assessment. The estimate will reflect the amount of time spent and the expertise needed to achieve a successful outcome and it will be based on the relevant hourly rate (see below) for the lawyer or team involved. We will regularly review our estimate and inform you as soon as there is a risk of a significant change. If the claim settles earlier than expected or the matter is proves to be less complicated than originally envisioned, then the savings go to you.
Fixed Price Quotations
We are also happy to quote a fixed fee for individual matters where this is possible, even where fixed pricing is not available. A quotation will usually need to take into account the risk that the case or matter might prove to be more time consuming, difficult or expensive than anticipated. This is one reason why quotations tend to result in a higher charge than work actually undertaken under an estimate.
Normal charging basis
Much of this firm’s work features specialist expertise that needs to be tailored to the specific circumstances of an individual case or matter, where ‘one size fits all’ pricing would be inappropriate. This is especially true of the work undertaken by our more experienced professionals, who are experts in their areas of practice. Even here, we will provide you with an estimate of the likely fees and outgoings and the basis upon which the assessment is made.
The conventional approach of the legal profession is to charge for the amount of time spent on your behalf. This will include time spent in meetings, telephone and audio video conference meetings, writing letters, emails, perusing and drafting documentation and occasionally, undertaking primary research. In keeping with the standard practice of our profession, our charges are made in units of 6 minutes (every hour amounting to 10 units).
Short emails, letters and calls are usually charged out at a single notional unit of 6 minutes. If it takes longer than 6 minutes then the appropriate unit charge will be made.
Where efficiencies are achieved through technology and automation, our aim is to reflect this in reduced pricing.
Single and multiple hourly rates
We differentiate our hourly charge rate to reflect the expertise of the individual lawyer involved. This enables us to allocate of the right legal resource to your specific case or matter at every stage, with a partner overseeing the strategy. Where more than one member of staff is acting or advising this can result in the firm’s time being charged a range of different hourly rate of costs, which enable us to provide an extremely competitive price.
Our normal hourly charge rates are:
- Partners and senior solicitors £250
- Solicitors and senior executives £220
- Experienced staff £185
- Legal assistants and paralegals £125
It the matter is urgent or unusually complicated this might result in an uplift being applied to the hourly charge rate. By the same token, we may on occasion agree a lower hourly charge rate. You will always be informed of the relevant hourly charge rate when we provide you with our estimate of cost at the outset. In lengthy matters, we will regularly review the costs and you will be notified if any significant increase in a costs estimate is anticipated.
The above provides an indication only of likely costs for a range of our services but assumes that there are no complications or particular aspects which might make the work more complex. We always intend to be transparent about the likely costs of any work and this approach accords with the Standards and Regulations to which we adhere, as required by our regulator, the Solicitors Regulations Authority.
Value for money?
One advantage of Broomhead & Saul being a law firm that offers a first rate nationwide legal service from its county town offices in Somerset is that we can pass on the benefit of our lower overheads to all our clients and customers, wherever they live.
Although several of our senior lawyers trained and practiced at top ranking law firms based in central London and are also nationally recognised leaders in their field, their hourly charge rate at this firm is substantially below what they could command here or elsewhere.
Comparison with the relatively low guideline rates that apply to claims in the courts
Solicitors are free to set their own charging rates with their client and so these tend to vary enormously, reflecting the type of work undertaken.
Contentious costs, on the other hand, are determined by the judiciary and the Civil Procedure Rules whose policy is to control the amount of costs that a winning party can recover from a losing party. This intention is to set limits on the often prohibitive costs of pursuing or defending a court case by imposing a relatively modest hourly charge rate for contentious work; in the interests of encouraging access to justice and the court system. In January 2021 the Civil Justice Counsel recommended the following guideline hourly charge rates should apply in contentious and litigated claims that come before the courts:
|Seniority||London Area 1||London Area 2||London Area 3||Regions Area 1||Regions Area 2|
|A||Solicitors and execs 8yrs +||£512||£373||£282||£261||£255||£250|
|B||Solicitors and execs 4yrs +||£348||£289||£232||£218||£218||£220|
|C||Other solicitors and execs||£270||£244||£185||£178||£126||£185|
|D||Paralegals and others||£186||£139||£129||£126||£126||£125|
Outside the specific context of contentious costs these rates are often exceeded (and by substantial margins) especially in London and in non-contentious commercial matters. Senior lawyers in the London area can charge anything between £400 and £750 per hour and some top London lawyers in excess of £1,000 per hour.
The above table demonstrates that Broomhead & Saul’s uniform flat-rate hourly charges, which are closely aligned to the lower contentious guideline rates for the Somerset area, represent excellent value for money.
Clarity on costs from the outset
Our actual fees and charges will be as set out in an initial engagement letter that we send to you, at the start of your case or matter, providing detailed information about costs, the individuals that will work on your matter and their qualifications and experience.
We recognise that managing costs is vitally important and therefore a we often offer a staged approach to help our clients and us achieve a cost-effective solution to their issue or the matter that they are undertaking. This involves our presenting regular interim bills and routinely reviewing our cost estimates.
Collaborating with you to minimise our costs
The single most expensive element of our charges is usually our lawyers’ time. Accordingly, we encourage our clients to help us to run their case or matter with the maximum efficiency consistent with spending the minimum amount of chargeable time.
We offer some tips to minimising the amount of time we spend on your case or matter:
- If you need to meet with us or to speak with us on the telephone then it may help to prepare a list of points that you wish to raise with us, in advance. This helps us to keep the conversation focused.
- Client meetings, whether in person or managed remotely online are vital to establishing a good solicitor / client rapport; besides which, we really enjoy meeting with and getting to know our clients. However, where routine inquiries and updates are concerned, it can sometimes be more time efficient just to email (or to write).
- When emailing / writing it would help if you could consider carefully exactly what it is that you need from us, taking the time to express this as clearly and succinctly as possible; again to save time and to avoid our have to seek further information or clarification.
- In some cases, we will advise you if there are documents (usually questionnaires or standard forms) that you can prepare in draft so that our time will be restricted to applying our legal expertise to complete them.
- Again, in some cases, we can advise you to deal direct with your fellow executors or trustees, your attorney, your bank, building society, life insurance company, pension company etc when requesting information as this will reduce the need for us to do work on your behalf. That said, if you would prefer us to assume direct control of all aspects of your matter or case, we shall be delighted to do so but it may result in a proportionate increase in our charges.
- We find it enormously helpful when our clients are able to respond promptly to our letters or requests for information, as this saves us from sending out reminders.
Disbursements are the costs and incidental expenses that we incur on your behalf. They are not included in our fixed fees and are an additional cost that needs to be budgeted for. Examples of these costs are: Land Registry charges; bank transfer fees; the cost of doing searches and/or producing plans; court fees, agent fees and barristers fees.
These costs will passed on to you for exactly the same amount that was originally incurred, without any supplement.
We are always up front about informing you of likely disbursements from the outset. Our standard practice is to provide you with an estimate of these costs at the same time as quoting for or estimating our fees. We will usually require you to place us in funds to meet any anticipated disbursements.
Value Added Tax
The current rate of VAT on solicitors fees and some disbursements is 20%.
Although we do not provide publicly funded legal services ourselves, we always check to see if any of our clients might be eligible. Your eligibility for legal aid depends on (a) what sort of legal problem you have and (b) your income and savings. For more information on Legal Aid follow this link to The Law Society or the HM Government.