Strong competition and a broad spectrum of firm types and styles delivers a market with high levels of variety and generally keener pricing than seen in other practice areas across NSW. The competitive market also produced high levels of uptake in the use of alternative pricing with over 88% of firms noting its use.
When moving away from hourly rates firms generally sought to do so cautiously by using a combination of hourly rate and capped fees rather than simply operating on a fixed price basis. Some 9.5% of firms noted the use of retainers.
In terms of hourly rates the market is essentially split into two bands those who sit under $500 per hour (some 45%) and generally reasonably well below that level and those who sit above $600 per hour (some 46%). The $500-$600 per hour pricing bracket which is typically the most common bracket in all Australian markets and practices only holds some 9.09% of Sydney’s planning and environment lawyers.
The percentage of NSW planning & environment lawyers pricing themselves in the under $500 per hour mark is higher than counterparts in Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia. In Victoria only 4.8% of the market priced themselves under $400 per hour, in NSW this figure was 18.1% and some 19% of Victoria’s P&E lawyers priced themselves between $400-$500 per hour, in NSW this figure was 27%.
In the higher pricing band NSW’s planning & environment lawyers were also comparatively affordable. While generally NSW sits as the state where lawyers at the top end of town tend to price themselves above $700 per hour and beyond this isn’t quite so when it comes to planning and environment. 18.7% of NSW individuals priced themselves over $700 per hour and some 4% charged over $800 per hour. In contrast 26% of Victorian environment lawyers sat above the $700 per hour mark and 9.4% sat above $800 per hour.