January 19, 2020
Doyle's Guide

Pricing Report – Native Title, Australia 2016

Limited activity in the resources sector has resulted in the continued challenging times for the majority of Australia’s native title practices.  But for residual matters and a strongly performing agribusiness sector it would have been truly lean times for Australia’s native title lawyers.  Despite a challenging market Australia’s native title lawyers are yet to look towards alternative pricing as frequently as their colleagues in other practice areas do.

Alternative Pricing

Only 68% of of practitioners noted using alternative pricing (typically anything under 80% is considered low).

The majority who did adopt alternative pricing methods reside within the larger commercial firms with a number of smaller practices not yet having moved away from an hourly rate model.

Fixed pricing was the most common form of alternative pricing being used by 84% of individuals and similarly capped fees  and stage-based costing were also common with 47% and 53% respectively using these models.

21% of individuals offered performance or outcome based fee structures and a comparatively low 11% used retainer-style agreements.

Hourly Rates

The hourly rates of Australia’s native title lawyers vary wildly.  Typically when piecing together our pricing spread firms tend to gravitate towards a “middle ground”.  This is far from the case in Native Title with hourly rates ranging between $300-$800 per hour.

The below table outlines what percentage of the market sets their hourly rate across various levels and two key trends emerge from such:

  • Predictably… the hourly rate of individuals working in the native title practices at larger commercial firms are substantially higher than those of individuals at smaller firms or specialist native title practices.
  • The hourly rates of those individuals acting for Traditional Owner bodies generally don’t exceed $500 per hour.
Hourly RateMarket Share


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