There is no doubt that lawyers often charge high fees. There are many reasons why one can be charged an expensive fee for legal services, and the answer varies widely based on what needs to be done. Here are the main 13 reasons why lawyers charge so much.
Table of Contents
- 1. Need lots of education to be a lawyer
- 2. Provide high-value service
- 3. Available for you 24/7
- 4. Overhead costs
- 5. Experience and availability
- 6. Precedents are expensive to research
- 7. Research individual laws can be costly
- 8. Once you know what laws are involved, it has to be proven that you’re dealing with them
- 9. It costs money to draft documents
- 10. Some services involve specific tasks that are time-consuming and difficult
- 11. High cost of law school/Student loans
- 12. High stress and long hours
- 13. Lawyers can earn a lot because they can
1. Need lots of education to be a lawyer
It takes years and much more education to be a lawyer than a paralegal because one must become familiar with many complex laws and precedents. These vary depending on what type of law one practice, but it can be very difficult to understand this material without a lot of education.
For instance, the education requirements to become a lawyer are notably much higher than those for becoming a paralegal or other legal professional. This means that attorneys typically take more schooling, and ultimately make more money than other legal professionals.
2. Provide high-value service
Like many other professionals, lawyers charge a lot of money for their service because they provide a high-value service that can’t really be compared with other services on an economic scale.
Lawyers provide an expert service, which means that they have a huge amount of knowledge about the industry. That expertise needs to be paid for, which is why lawyers charge so much money. Lawyers are always up-to-date with all the latest laws and regulations because it’s their job, not something they do on top of other work.
3. Available for you 24/7
lawyers are always available for you to call, email or walk into their office whenever you have a problem. That is because they’re on retainer 24/7, 365 days a year. You can never put a price on that kind of service, which is why lawyers charge so much for it.
4. Overhead costs
Attorneys can charge so much because they have a lot of expenses. For instance, law firms often have to pay for their operating costs even if there are cases that they cannot afford to take.
In order to make a profit on these services, lawyers must bill enough cases in order to cover the high overhead costs that come with running an office. This includes rent for their large office spaces, staff salaries, as well as other costs.
They often have to pay for their advertising costs, in order to get their name and expertise in front of people who need legal representation.
5. Experience and availability
A lawyer’s experience can affect the price of their services. As you can imagine a lawyer who is in high demand will be able to charge more than an average lawyer with less experience or availability.
For example, a senior partner in a law firm who is more experienced and well-known will charge more than a junior associate with little to no experience. More experience also means that clients may be more willing to pay a higher price for a lawyer.
A law firm will also charge more depending on the availability of their lawyers. For example, if a client requires an expert in a particular field and one of their lawyers is currently traveling or on vacation then the client may have to book another day at least which increases the cost of the services.
6. Precedents are expensive to research
Another reason why legal services can be so expensive is that you must pay for research time in order to determine what course of action to take based on precedents.
When a case has been tried before, it sets a precedent that other people facing the same issues will refer to for guidance. This is a valuable resource, but it does cost money to find cases and read them to see if they are applicable to one’s own case.
7. Research individual laws can be costly
Not only is it expensive to research previous cases, but it can also be expensive to learn about individual laws. This is because the United States has a complex legal system – so much so that it can be difficult to keep up with all of the changes in the law.
There are many reasons why researching individual laws can be costly, but some of the most common include:
- The sheer number of them. There are several thousand published federal statutes, and thousands more set out in published regulations
- Sources can be outdated or vague
- It takes a lot of time to find the specific law that applies to one’s case
8. Once you know what laws are involved, it has to be proven that you’re dealing with them
Even if a lawyer spends the time and money researching individual laws, it also has to be proven that the case falls under a legal issue. This is not as simple as many people might think, and can be complex depending on what type of case or dispute one is having.
9. It costs money to draft documents
In some cases, getting legal help means paying someone else to craft a document for you that is customized to your needs. For instance, a lawyer might draft a contract that is tailored to what you want it to say and how it should be put together.
The cost varies based on what type of document or contract it is, the number of pages in the final document, and other factors. However, many people are surprised at just how expensive it can be to have a document created from scratch by an attorney.
10. Some services involve specific tasks that are time-consuming and difficult
In some cases, the price is set because a lawyer must complete a very specific task or follow a certain process for each step of what needs to be done.
For example, a lawyer will not begin working on the next section of the document until they’ve received approval, input, or other materials from you. Getting them to draft letters can be similar because it often involves multiple drafts and redrafts in order to get everything exactly the way that you want it to be.
11. High cost of law school/Student loans
Legal education is expensive and the costs of attending law school have been steadily rising for many years now, so it should come as no surprise that lawyers generally graduate law school with far more debt than students in other academic programs.
This situation can cause significant financial stress for many lawyers, which may lead to high rates of depression and suicide among this group.
Law school tuition at Harvard is $67,720 for the 2021-2022 academic year. This number will increase to $104,550 if put the fees of the LL.M. activities, the costs of housing, food, books and supplies, travel expenses, health services fees and dental insurance.
12. High stress and long hours
American lawyers work long hours and in some cases, seven days a week with little or no time off. Most work full time and many work more than 40 hours a week. This is largely due to the extreme stress involved with the day-to-day operations of law practice. In fact, lawyers have the highest level of stress among all professions.
13. Lawyers can earn a lot because they can
People who need legal help might find it that lawyers should be paid well for doing their jobs as they can bring good results. This means that one will generally get what they pay for, though in some cases a person might feel like they paid too much.