Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

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bobbypin

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Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby bobbypin » Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:28 am

I recently passed the bar and have opened my own law practice. While I am trying to get it off the ground, a few established attorneys in my town have reached out to me seeking to hire me as an independent contractor. Some of the research and writing would be for indigent clients. Indigent counsel is paid a flat fee based upon the nature of the charges.

As a law student, I was paid $20 an hour for similar work. It's fair to charge more once I am a bar admitted attorney. How do I determine a fair rate to charge?

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Re: Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:08 pm

PRobably depends where you live, but assuming your skills don't suck, I think you can definitely charge more.

this dude charges 65/hr:

https://unionlegalresearch.com/

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rpupkin

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Re: Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby rpupkin » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:PRobably depends where you live, but assuming your skills don't suck, I think you can definitely charge more.

this dude charges 65/hr:

https://unionlegalresearch.com/

I think it's likely that these attorneys (who aren't getting paid much via the prescribed flat fee) are reaching out to a first-year attorney because they can't afford to pay $65/hr. I imagine they're thinking the OP will work for something like $20 or $30 an hour.

OP: This is going to sound harsh, but your hourly pay right now is almost beside the point. You should look at this as a networking and skill-building opportunity. For a brand new attorney to do a good job on these motions (and you should try to do a good job), you're going to have to spend a lot more time than an experienced attorney. Even if the attorneys agreed to pay you $65/hr (which they won't), you'd have to write off a good amount of your time in order to make the arrangement acceptable.

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ggocat

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Re: Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby ggocat » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:29 pm

A research/writing company for lawyers in my secondary market pays $25 to new lawyers for this type of contract work. I assume the company marks up at least 100%, though I don't know for sure. Perhaps $50 is reasonable in a secondary market for a new lawyer generating his/her own leads?

Do lawyers in indigent counsel cases prefer to pay you hourly? Consider a flat fee if you're new to the game. This will save you the trouble of billing too many hours at a lower rate and risk a dispute over the number of hours the job took/should have taken. In other words, if you bill "$50 and hour for 15 hours of work" when the lawyer thinks it's an 10-hour job, you might rub someone the wrong way. Whether you're ultimately collecting $75/hour for what should take 10 hours of work or $50/hour for the actual 15 hours of work you performed, you're still collecting $750. Flat fees also ensure that you earn more as you become more efficient. So in a year from now when that once-15-hour job now takes you 10 hours, your hourly rate just increased from $50 to $75 without you having to explain to your employer that you're charging them more money per hour.

Take that with a grain of salt. I'm not in private practice.

ETA: Clearly I have no concept of the value of the service; $50 is too high for new lawyer.
Last edited by ggocat on Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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LeDique

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Re: Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby LeDique » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:32 pm

I was paid $20-30 as a 3L and pre-bar admission for this work. It didn't change post-grad/bar, but then again I didn't ask for exactly the reason rpupkin points out – it was more about networking and getting potential full-time employers familiar with my ~high quality~ work.

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Easy-E

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Re: Hourly rate for contract lawyer performing research and motion writing?

Postby Easy-E » Wed Sep 28, 2016 1:48 pm

I got $35/hour as a 3L/grad for hourly work like this. I would have some kind of written agreement in place though, for when they inevitably bitch about how long it took you to do something, and if they want you stop/contact them at a certain number of hours.



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