April 2, 2023
Doyle's Guide

Pricing Report – Planning & Environment – Queensland, 2016

An increase in market activity across the planning space appears to have strangely resulted in a continued downward trend in pricing and a reduction in the acceptance of pricing innovation.

Hourly Rates

With some 64% of the market setting an hourly rack rate below $550 there’s an affordability to Queensland’s planning and environment lawyers that is only bettered in smaller jurisdictions such as South Australia.

The downward trend in pricing was apparent across all levels of the market and firm types and also seems to be creating a vacuum around the $600 per hour market.  The $600 per hour figure being a price that mid-tier/specialist firms feel is too high and a figure that simply isn’t compatible with the pricing levels of other practice areas at the larger national and international firms.

Brisbane Planning & Environment Partner Pricing (Hourly Rates)

Hourly RateMarket Share
$350 - $40016%
$400 - $4509%
$450 - $50025%
$500 - $55014%
$550 - $60011%
$600 - $6505%
$650 - $70010%
$700 - $7507%
$750 - $8003%

Alternative Pricing

Queensland’s planning and environment lawyers as a whole sit as some of the least likely lawyers in the country to utilise alternative pricing.  Only 53% of individuals reported a move away from the hourly rate in the past 12 months a figure down from 65% of individuals using alternative pricing some 12 months ago.  The apparent explanation for such is that in a competitive pricing market the state’s planning and environment lawyers have looked towards discounting rather than innovation as a means of getting ahead.  The merits of such an approach seem questionable.

Of those firms who did use alternative pricing some 90% used fixed pricing and/or capped fees.  Only 10% adopted performance or outcome based fees and 12% looked towards retainer style arrangements.


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