At one point or another most of us gets into a situation where we are required to hire a lawyer. It’s true for both business and individuals. Let us all begin with an understanding that UAE Lawyers and law firms are business entities and they are going to charge you as per the market norms. So, before you move ahead of hiring a lawyer, the financial side of legal service is one of the main factors that you must consider. The UAE has way too many options available when it comes to the law firms. It makes it even more difficult to choose one. Most of the world’s best law firms have at least one office in Dubai.
How do Lawyers charge?
All law firms have various methods to bill you. Some of them have a fixed fee and some charges you on an hourly rate basis. These methods are usually dependent on the complexity of the case, type of legal field it belongs to and scope of work. Complex cases require extra attention thus the fee will also increase accordingly.
Some of the common methods of the way lawyers charge are:
• Fixed Fees: For certain types of legal work, the UAE lawyers and law firms have fixed fees which is to a certain extent uniform everywhere. The process for such legal work is mostly transactional and similar with all the lawyers in UAE. This usually includes lease preparation, business formation, property transfers, the formation of trust or will, etc.
• Hourly Fees: Hourly fee is one of the most common modes of payment agreement between a client and a lawyer. In this system, the lawyer gets paid as the pre-agreed rate for the time he or she spends working on the case, until the time its resolved. However here we recommend that while forming an agreement you put a maximum cap or a threshold limit to it. Else you might end up paying much more than the market rates, and this may lead to unnecessary issues later on.
Types of the case that usually go for hourly rate litigation, personal injury and accidental clams, etc.
• Retainer Fee: The retainer fee is something which most of the lawyers in UAE emphasize on paying. A retainer fee is an advance for any legal service. Most of the UAE law firms ensure that the retainer fee is paid before they provide you any assistance. Though most of the reputed law firms in UAE ensure absolute transparency and thus clients can make the investments without any fear. Law firms of high repute maintain utmost transparency in its all financial transactions. They provide clients with a clear explanation of how the money will be utilized to build their case. If in any case, the cost exceeds because of the nature of the case, the client will be given a detailed explanation for the same.
One can always negotiate the retainer fee as there are some law firms which will agree to a lower offer on compassionate ground. For cases like Accidental Claims and Personal Injury, there are few firms (specialist in Personal injury cases) who reduces the retainer fee on compassionate ground.
• Contingency Fees: In this, the lawyer is paid nothing in advance. The lawyer receives the payment only if there is a positive financial outcome of the case. This is for the cases such as medical negligence or malpractice. However, it is necessary to agree on how this contingency fee will be treated. A client may or may not have to pay for initial expenses depending on the law firm’s policy. You also need to clarify in advance how the lawyer is going to charge you whether they will deduct their fee from the final settlement amount before it is handed over to you or receiving the payment by you. Also, clarify if in case you receive a negative outcome, will you still be bearing any cost to the lawyer. As per Article 28 of the Advocacy Law No. 23 of 1991 of the UAE, in the event of a settlement, all legal fee becomes due.
Factors affecting the Costs: As mentioned earlier, there are many factors which decide the way a law firm charges you:
1. The reputation of the Law firm: The bigger and reputed the law firm is, the bigger will be the pile of cases they handle at a time. So, one can expect a higher fee here; however, some of the law firms make consideration on compassionate grounds.
2. Experience and Expertise of Lawyer: The cost also depends on the experience of the lawyer you hire for the job. Usually, partner lawyers charge the highest, followed by senior advocates and then lawyer assistants. It’s advisable to go for experienced ones as new ones may prove costly over the period of times as they may use more of your billable working hours.
3. Geographical Location: Lawyers practicing in major cities like Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi charge higher fee in comparison to the ones in small towns and rural area.
4. The complexity of the Legal Matter: If the case is complicated and time-consuming, which requires a lot of paperwork, many procedural paths to go through, lots of witnessed to dispose of, or in situations like mergers and acquisitions, one can expect higher charges.
5. Other costs: There are a number of costs involved with the administrative aspects which a lawyer or a law firm incur, it is called overheads. The cost of documentation, research, court fees, and many such expenses.
Meet Your Lawyer:
Before moving ahead and making any sort of payment we advise you to meet your lawyer first or go for Free Case Evaluation which is offered by may law firms. This will give you an insight into the probable cost that you may incur for your case.