Legal Fees | Ethics

When Lawyers Charge Like Rock Stars

How to avoid sticker shock with lawyer fees

Kemal M. Lepschoque, LL.M.
Friendly Legal
Published in
7 min readJun 9, 2024

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When clients complain about their lawyers, often it’s about how much they’re being charged. Thankfully, there’s a set of rules (Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Section 1.5), that helps figure out fair pricing. There are eight important criteria from these rules that help decide if a fee is fair. Also there are specific situations when lawyers need to put their fee agreements in writing and go over some detailed rules for certain types of fees, like when a fee depends on winning a case or when multiple lawyers share a fee.

Lawyer charging his client 😄 💵 Copyright by author © (created with Canva assistance)

How to Make Sure Legal Fees Do Not Go Wild?

The Section 1.5 of the Rules states that lawyers must not agree to, charge, or collect fees that are unreasonably high, nor can they charge unreasonable amounts for expenses. To help determine what counts as “reasonable”, there are eight main factors laid out in the rules.

It’s important to note that while these eight factors are commonly used to assess reasonableness, they aren’t the only considerations, and they might not all apply in every situation.

  1. Complexity of the Case. The rule first considers how complex the legal issue is, including the amount of…

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Kemal M. Lepschoque, LL.M.
Friendly Legal

Lawyer | Traveller | Polyglot | 27 x Boosted ✨ adept at simplifying complex juridical concepts into human-friendly language & 60+ countries visited