Value pricing is an issue that is often discussed and debated within the legal industry.

While many commentators claim that the era of the billable hour is over, most lawyers are reluctant to move away from the safety of the six-minute unit, especially when it comes to litigation.

At ACA Lawyers, we believe in offering our clients flexibility in the form of a menu of choices when it comes to paying for legal services. For some matters, the billable hour may still be the most suitable way to pay for services provided. For different situations, however, other options may be more appropriate.

If you would like us to assist with your dispute, we will meet with you and, depending on the type of matter, work out the best fee structure for your case.

Option 1: Hourly rate

If you pay according to an hourly rate, we charge you varying rates for each hour of work done by our lawyers. The rate varies according to the seniority of the professional.

This option is suited to situations where there is a trusting relationship between lawyer and client and the task is difficult to scope in advance.

Option 2: Blended hourly rate

With a blended hourly rate, we charge you a single rate for each hour of work done by any lawyer irrespective of their experience or seniority.

This option is suited to large matters or disputes where a team approach is required and there is a need for work to be handled at the right levels to achieve overall cost effectiveness.

Option 3: Capped fee

A capped fee is where hourly rates are charged up to an agreed maximum level on an agreed, documented scope of work. After the cap is reached, any additional work (within the scope) will be completed at no additional cost.

This option is suited to most medium-complexity work where a realistic scope of work can be agreed. It is often used for stages of a transactional work or litigation (such as discovery).

Option 4: Fixed pricing

Fixed pricing is where a set fee is agreed for certain types of work and the fee is charged regardless of the time spent.

It is possible to use the fixed fee for most types of legal work. It is commonly used for work where the variables can easily be anticipated, such as:

  • property acquisitions/disposals
  • leasing (commercial, retail and industrial)
  • debt recoveries
  • trade mark registrations
  • standard contracts for goods and services.

Option 5: Risk share

Risk share is a form of ‘no win, no fee’ arrangement. In this situation, a percentage or all of the professional fees billed to a matter are deferred. The deferred fees are only recovered if the case is successful. Risk share only applies to professional fees. It does not apply to disbursements.

Risk share is commonly used in class actions. For example, a firm may charge 75% of its fees upfront and recover the remaining 25% only in the event of a settlement or a win.

Option 6: Value-adjusted pricing

Value-adjusted pricing provides for an option to add or subtract from the total amount billed an amount reflecting the value received. It is usually set at plus or minus 20% of the total bill.

Option 7: Retainer

With a retainer, the law firm is paid a set amount per annum or per month to provide specific services.

A retainer is usually used for high-volume/low-complexity work where there is a pattern of use and volume. This option suits clients who require a fixed budget for their legal spend and whose requirements can be clearly defined in advance.

Are you currently involved in a commercial dispute? Are you interested in talking to lawyers who can offer you flexible fee arrangements for your matter? If so, please call Craig Allsopp on +61 2 9216 9898 or email them at