Everyone knows that lawyers charge a lot for their services. Maybe we’re justified in charging quite a bit because we provide unique services that few people know enough about to handle on their own. Also, we’ve had to endure years of stressful legal training and an exhausting bar exam experience.
Most people appreciate the expertise attorneys can offer to help solve their legal problems, and they don’t want to take a gamble when addressing issues that could have a huge impact on their lives.
Still, do some attorneys charge more than they need to? Take, for example, a report that some attorneys now charge as much as $1,500 per hour! If an attorney billed 40 hours a week at that rate for a year, then he or she would make $3,120,000. Fortunately, $1,500 per hour isn’t the norm.
How Much Do Nevada Attorneys Charge?
On average, law firms in the United States charged $232 per hour in 2016. That would be the equivalent of $482,560 per year at 40 hours a week. That’s still a lot of money. The state with the highest average billable hour rate in 2016 was New York at $279 per hour. Nevada came in third at $255 and Utah (the other state where I’m licensed) came in 22nd at $191. However, when adjusted for the cost of living in each state, Nevada jumped to first place at $261 per hour, and Utah increased to $197 per hour.
Some lawyers charge a lot because they need to cover high operating costs and make a profit. Others charge a lot because they can. In a (somewhat) free market, most firms will charge the highest amount people are willing to pay so they can earn as much as possible. But not all lawyers think this way.
I believe that every person who needs legal help should be able to find it. Accordingly, my goal is to charge just enough to cover my costs of doing business (rent, taxes, technology, etc.) and to make a decent living for my family. Just like you, I want my family to be able to eat, live in a safe and comfortable home, and enjoy some fun activities together.
For this reason, I currently charge just $150-200 per hour, depending on the type of case and issue. I might increase my rates at some point in the future, but I don’t think I’ll ever charge more than necessary to operate my firm efficiently and meet my family’s basic needs. Under this approach, the key is to keep my costs low, which is easy in some ways but difficult in others.
Keeping Costs Low
My goal is to spend the lowest amount possible on overhead while providing legal services that rival the quality of services that expensive firms provide. My office might not be as fancy as others, and my face won’t appear on billboards throughout the valley, but I’ll be as cost-efficient as I can while still meeting my clients’ legal needs and charging them as little as possible.
Certainly, many people won’t be able to afford even my low rates. For this reason, many legal aid centers exist to provide free legal services (I volunteer at one) and many attorneys do pro bono work. And if anyone approaches me with serious legal needs and can’t afford my rates, I will consider offering them a reduced rate. My goal is to provide the best legal services I can while making them as affordable as possible.