Can legal services be provided at a fixed price?

The answer to this question is a resounding yes!

When we call a plumber, the plumber does not tell us how long it takes them to commute, the petrol they will use or the time they may spend at our house. The plumber just gives us a price (admittedly, these days it is likely to be a pretty steep price).

Similarly, when we go to an Apple shop and buy an iPhone 6 (to replace our perfectly adequate iPhone 5), the “genius” at the counter does not explain what it costs to manufacture, ship and sell the iPhone. This is just as well – it would be depressing to know the profit Apple makes on you every year.

The plumber and Apple simply sell us their respective services and products at the price we will pay. This is called value pricing, ie a product or service is priced based on its value to the consumer. The idea is hardly revolutionary since 99% of the business world has been operating like this forever. Indeed, your business most likely operates like this. So why not lawyers?

Actually there is absolutely no good reason why lawyers cannot, or do not, use value pricing.

It is mostly the apathy of both lawyers and their clients that allows the time costing (yes it is “costing”, not “pricing”) model to continue to operate, especially when, largely thanks to the internet, today’s consumers of goods and services have unprecedented levels of choice and enjoy great value for money on many other goods or services.

Of course, many law firms use all sorts of flimsy excuses about why they continue to flog their clients with ridiculous hourly rates. For example, they say that a fixed price is “subjective”. Well, yes it is, but so are most things in life. In any event, is a partner’s hourly rate of $800 (or $1200 if it is a tax law partner) objective? What about $300 for a graduate lawyer (with all due respect to their excellent experience in university debating competitions)? The point is that a value-based fixed price may be subjective but if a client happily accepts it and is satisfied with the service, then the client has received value for money.

Some law firms may even suggest that a fixed price will tempt lawyers to compromise on quality. This is, of course, utter nonsense. A lawyer who compromises on quality will have a pretty short-lived career. What fixed prices do encourage in lawyers is efficiency and right-sized service, instead of the habitual over-servicing practised by some. And as for an inclination to “compromise”, don’t get me started on the temptation to “compromise” timesheets that unfortunately can infect even honest lawyers.

Our experience at Source Legal of always working on a fixed price basis is a testament that fixed prices for legal services are possible and embraced by clients.

For more information on how we can provide fixed price services to your business contact Stanislav Roth by email at

A copy of the article can be downloaded here.

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