Four Reasons Why Some Lawyers Seem to Be So Expensive?

When you have a legal issue that needs to be addressed by a lawyer, it’s important to find a lawyer that will agree to a financial arrangement that fits your budget. There are many reasons why, in your effort to find legal help, some lawyers may seem to be “expensive.” Here, we will go over three common reasons.

ONE

Supply and Demand

You may be shocked when an attorney tells you what her hourly rate is. After hearing that an attorney charges $400 per hour, for example, you may begin to wonder if you are going to be able to work with the attorney, even if you are employed and have some money saved. Here, some attorneys have more than enough work to do with clients that will pay $400 an hour. In fact, if an attorney is already busy with clients paying $400 an hour, the attorney may raise her hourly rate with new clients, because the attorney has less available time and is in high demand.

TWO

Experience is Valuable

The amount of experience your attorney has may be a significant factor in whether or not you will be successful with your legal matter. Here, an attorney who has worked on many similar cases in the past has likely seen how certain types of legal issues are better resolved and may be more likely to resolve your legal issue in an efficient and effective way. Related to “supply and demand” (above), an attorney who is very experienced is likely to be in higher demand and, because of the attorney’s high level of experience, may charge clients at higher rates. This does not mean that less experienced attorneys are not effective. It simply means that more experienced attorneys may charge more for their services due the degree of experience.

THREE

Expertise is Valuable

Working on legal issues can involve highly technical tasks that can be very particular to specific types of legal issues. At some point you might have thought that any attorney can help you with any legal issue. Here, many attorneys specialize in only a few select areas of the law. Often, a lawyer that has very low fees that you like may not agree to represent you because the legal issue you have requires a very specialized type of expertise that the lawyer you like cannot assist you in. Here, if you need an attorney with a high level of expertise in a particular area of the law, that attorney may charge more than other attorneys that do not have such a specialized knowledge of a unique legal issue.

FOUR

Legal Issues Can Require Many Resources to Address

You might think $400 for one hour of work, to use the same example above, is a lot of money. However, attorneys’ fees are not always like the rate of pay at other types of jobs. Though a lawyer may charge an hourly rate, that hourly rate may cover many other resources required to address legal issues for clients, including paying staff, paying rent for an office, paying for insurance, licensing fees, and paying for other things that make a law firm work, such as computers, telephones, copy machines, other office expenses, and advertising. Also, to become a lawyer, many people take on a significant amount of debt, which has to paid. These are just some of the expenses required to practice law.


Serving Southern California counties, SmartLaw is the best way to find the right qualified legal resource. SmartLaw is certified by the State Bar of California and the American Bar Association. SmartLaw is a public service of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

The materials and information available on this website are for informational purposes only. The materials and information available on this website are not for the purpose of providing legal advice and should not be relied upon or used in place of legal advice from an attorney. You should contact an attorney to receive advice with respect to any particular issue or problem you may have.

Last update: July 2019.