June 3, 2023
Doyle's Guide

Pricing Report – Employment, Sydney 2015

Sydney’s employment lawyers are comfortably the most expensive in the country however the sheer size and diversity of product offering within the market ensures that quality, lower priced options can still be found.

Hourly Rates

At first glance NSW’s employment lawyers conform with the pricing trends of other Australian states.  The most common band of pricing for the state’s employment lawyers is the mid-tier “sweet spot” of $500-$600 with 28% of respondents listing this range as housing their hourly rate.  Many of the individuals positioning themselves in this band reside at national mid-tier firms ‘s and thus the hourly rate is more part of a standardised national approach than any real test of market forces.  We’d suggest that the majority of individuals in this band are either over or under-priced.

The danger in resting in the middle in the Sydney employment market is that there is still some 21% of the market sitting under $500 per hour and 12% sitting under $400 per hour.  The lower level in particular is surprising as this is in line with many smaller Australian states.

On the flipside, 36% of the market set their rack rate over $700 per hour and 19% sit above $800 per hour.  These are pricing levels not equaled by employment lawyers in other states and rarely hit by lawyers in other practice areas within NSW.

Alternative Pricing

With such lofty hourly rates it’s little surprise that alternative pricing is common with some 78% of firms using it.  The use of alternative pricing increased the higher the hourly rack rate.

The most common method of such pricing was fixed pricing and capped fees however surprisingly some 77% of respondents noted that they had also used retainer style agreements.  Compared with a national average across all areas of practice of between 20%-30% in the use of retainers that figure is remarkably high (albeit in line with employment lawyers in Victoria).

Also higher was the usage of performance-based pricing with almost a third of firms noting its use.

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