A plethora of firms with quality property practices and the past few years of comparatively lean times for Queensland’s property lawyers sees no shortage of pricing dynamism or competitiveness from Queensland property lawyers. Rack rates and fixed pricing are one thing but, with all eyes looking towards an upcoming boom, there was a strong view that many firms have adopted a get in early and “buy work” mentality to pricing. Whether such a strategy succeeds is yet to be determined.
73% of the Queensland market’s property lawyers listed a rack rate under $600 per hour. With a large number of national and international firms offering charge out rates in the high $500’s per hour that’s little surprise. What did raise eyebrows though was that 42% of individuals surveyed listed a charge-out rate under $500 per hour (the survey only goes to established commercial firms and not smaller suburban general practices/residential conveyancers).
At the higher end of the market only 5.6% of individuals listed a charge-out rate over $700 per hour which is well below national standards and decidedly low when compared to other markets i.e. 18% of individuals in WA and 25% of individuals in NSW.
Queensland’s property lawyers sit comfortably within the top band of lawyers who have moved away from the hourly rate and, for one reason or another, adopted alternative billing practices with 92% of individuals using models other than the hourly rate.
Predictably fixed price/capped fees were the most common derivations of such however performance/outcome based fees were also used widely with 31% of firms listing their use. Retainers, used by between 10%-30% of firms in other markets were far less common in Queensland with only 4% of firms noting their use.