What is included, and how much will it cost to hire a lawyer or legal consultant?
Lawyers and legal consultants charges clients differently based on the agreement made. It’s therefore important to be aware of the type of costs you will be charged, including fee agreements and hourly rates. This way you will be able to make an estimation of the legal costs you face in resolving your legal issue. You might even be able to see ways to save costs.
What is a fee agreement?
You might be worried about the fees charged by your lawyer or consultant. Luckily various fee agreements exists, and your professional is likely to offer several options. Before you start working together, your lawyer or consultant will have you sign one of the following fee agreements:
For hourly fees, your lawyer or consultant charges a fixed rate for every hour or part thereof that is spent working on your case. The fixed rate may vary depending on the type of work performed. For example, your lawyer may charge a lower hourly fee for basic research time and a higher fee for court preparation work. Agreeing to hourly fees is less suitable for litigation cases such as a dispute settlement, considering the lawyer must go through to a lengthy process involving court, police and prosecution. Therefore hourly fees are more suitable for legal advice sessions.
With flat fees, the lawyer or consultant agrees to complete the job for a fixed rate. Flat fees are commonly offered for predictable cases, such as an uncontested divorce. Flat fees are very common in Indonesia. For a junior lawyer, expect a service fee charge of around Rp. 5 million. More experienced associates may charge a price between Rp. 8-10 million for a straightforward case. For complex cases, you may expect a flat fee of Rp. 15 million or more. Usually you are required to a down payment of 30-50% of the total fee once you sign the Letter of Authorization with future payouts divided over milestones.
A client may wish for the lawyer or consultant to represent him on a contingent basis. In this case, a client pays a fee only if his case is successful. Contingent fees may be agreed for cases involving money claims, such as for personal injury and debt collection cases. The advocates can then charge a certain percentage of the amount won during the case, usually 5-20 percent. If your case is not won, you may still have to pay the operational costs the lawyer incurred for your case.
This another common fee agreement in which the lawyer or legal consultant charges retainer fees as a deposits or advance payments for hourly work on your legal issue, which is deducted from that retainer each time you are billed for services. Retainer fees are common for long-term lawyer-client relationships, especially for corporate clients and complicated cases. A benefit of retainer fees is that the you can keep the lawyer’s charged hours within your budget.
Do lawyers charge additional fees?
Some lawyers and consultant charges additional fees. They may include the following:
For your first introduction meeting with the lawyer, you may need to pay a consultation fee. You therefore want to agree on the costs before you schedule your appointment. Some lawyers offer a free 30 or 60-minute introduction appointment. During this introduction you will not receive practical advice on how to move forward regarding your case, instead you will only receive information on what the lawyer can do for you.
Filing lawsuits and other court actions such as filing documents usually come at an additional fee. Your professional can usually estimate these costs in advance.
There may be court costs if your case enters trial.
These are the fees charged for the lawyer’s transportation and accommodation to meet you or relevant parties in your case, and travel expenses to attend the court meeting regarding your case.
How much do lawyers charge hourly?
If you do a quick google or contact several legal professional, you will notice that hourly fees may vary greatly. Several factors influence the hourly price charged by a lawyer or legal consultant:
- Level and years of practicing experience the lawyer has under his belt.
- Level of specialization the professional has regarding your type of legal issue.
- Total time the professional expects to work on your case.
How to reduce hourly fees?
Most lawyers in Indonesia are open to negotiating fees. You might be able to agree on doing some research work yourself or having a cheaper professional, such as a legal trainee, perform the easier tasks to reduce your total costs. In Jakarta the hourly price of a junior and associate lawyer ranges between $75 to $250, whereas more senior and reputable lawyers may charge between $250 to $600.
What happens if you disagree about the fees?
If you and your lawyer disagree about fees, you have some options. First, contact the professional association where your lawyer or legal professional is licensed, such as the Indonesian Advocates Association, PERADI, and ask if they offer mediation services. You may also contact a neutral party to arbitrate the disagreement.
How can you reduce your total legal costs?
The most effective way in keeping your legal costs to a minimum is to always be upfront with your legal professional. Be honest and complete when you answer your lawyer’s questions. Do not provide false information or leave out important facts; this will end up costing you more money as it will take more time to work on your issue.
Free legal services
In Indonesia you will also find free or reduced-cost legal services for clients who lack the financial means. This is due to the Advocate Law which states that an advocate has an obligation to provide legal assistance to those incapable of seeking justice. So practicing lawyers have a legal obligation to provide pro bono services, but compliance is poorly monitored. Luckily, most lawyers do offer pro bono services, and some organizations offer free legal advice to members, for example provided by law students.
Regardless the topic of your case, it’s important to know how much your lawyer or legal consultant may cost. If you have further general questions on legal fees, Ask a Legal Question for free.