Balaclava wearing lawyers

Is it only Perth corporate lawyers that have a Balaclava lurking in their bottom drawer ?
Legal fees and billing practices in Perth are now akin to daylight robbery and the old saying “only the lawyers win” couldn’t be
more accurate.
Instead of getting the Partner for $600 an hour you get the junior lawyer for $400 an hour but when it comes to meetings, the
partner sits in, rounding the bill up to a tidy $1000 per hour.
The junior lawyer charges you $40 to send an email and the senior lawyer “peruses” it
for another $60.
“Attempted calls”, “partner to partner discussions”, “reviews of the review” and junior lawyer “research” (read education) ensure
there is no daylight left to bill out.
A CEO told me recently about receiving a lawyers bill worth $27 000 and then two weeks later opening another worth $33
000 – He wrongly thought they had just increased the bill by $6000 for recent work !
Another told me of a quote to review a notice of meeting that was much the same as the last one for the chiefly sum of $12 000.
Just make sure you don’t run into your Perth lawyer at the cricket and start talking about your case because a bill will show
up on Monday.
What do you think? Email Matt Birney at
Matt Birney is the Managing Director of Government,
Public and Investor relations firm Birney Corporate.


Trigg Beach
What do I think? Long ago, I got a lawyer's website listed on top of page one of Google for "lawyer perth". He got bored of his old design, switched off his old site and replaced it with a new design. When he phoned me for help one evening, the first thing I said was: "You're allowed to own more than one site; you could have left your old design online and added your new site. Secondly you need to know I charge $330 per hour for consultation, to which he exclaimed: "WHAT, THAT MUCH!" My response was: "How many of your clients have said what that much at your $400 per hour! And further more I make money for my clients." He listened to me for an hour over the phone, paid the $330 and implemented some of my web marketing recommendations; and got back on page one of Google. He'd built a practice of 4 law partners charging $400 per hour, 8 hours a day x 8 years on the back of my marketing and had the lack of value appreciation to exclaim "what that much!" In defence layers' perusal, research, composition, review/editing of emails (correspondence). If an email takes 1 hour to produce, then $40 is reasonable for a law clerk/junior lawyer and $60 for review by a senior lawyer is also reasonable. It's not just a legal beagle's hourly rate in an email but the cost of running a business. Same as when the garage charges $80 per hour to fix your car, the mechanic doesn't earn all of that. There's costs of swank office expenses, marketing, networking membership/parties, compliance, etc etc.

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