Despite most practitioners seeing as an overall cooling in market conditions, pricing levels for legal services remained strong with the Queensland market. Most practitioners saw a keen focus placed upon the overall cost of a matter rather than any particular focus on hourly rates for either senior or junior lawyers.
Hourly rates for non-contentious work typically sat at a slight premium to those charged on contentious matters however costs of non-contentious work was, perhaps unsurprisingly subject to greater client scrutiny overall.
The typical difference in hourly rates between the larger national and international firms remains greater than could otherwise be expected with Partner rack rates differing by up to $250 per hour. Despite this the actual hourly rates charged at the end of the day, either by way of client volume discount or other negotiation, only saw a small difference between firm size and type.
The integration of a number of formerly smaller, boutique style contentious construction practices into larger full-service firms has resulted in a muddying of the waters in determining an appropriate hourly rate for mid-sized firms. The practitioners who formerly operated in a boutique and low cost environment have done little to vary their hourly rates since entering their new environment and thus the hourly rate figures for most categories of firms display an unusually large variance.
Alternative pricing models held little sway with most clients and firms feeling comfortable with either hourly rates, fixed fees or some combination of the two. On contentious construction matters hourly rates subject to regularly and sometimes weekly WIP reports were typical.
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