find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Competition, Policy & Regulatory
Category: Other | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Work with a well regarded Partner · Sydney CBD
View details
Commercial Litigation Senior Associate
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Lawyers Weekly Australia Partner of the Year 2016, Insolvency
View details
MULTIPLEX Regional Legal Counsel (Vic) | 7 to 10 years + PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Career defining in-house role · Tier One international contractor
View details
Junior Lawyer - Personal Injury Law
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Parramatta & Western Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Highly specialized practice · Challenging role with great opportunities
View details
IR Advisor/Member Advocate
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: St Leonards NSW 2065
· Permanent (0.8-1.0 FTE) role in a developing team
View details
Greedy lawyers become the prey

Greedy lawyers become the prey

ROGUE LAW FIRMS and greedy lawyers that overcharge and over service may see their exorbitant fees threatened by an inquiry to be conducted by a new government watchdog.The Legal Fees Review…

ROGUE LAW FIRMS and greedy lawyers that overcharge and over service may see their exorbitant fees threatened by an inquiry to be conducted by a new government watchdog.

The Legal Fees Review Panel will investigate law firms in NSW which rip off their clients with excessive fees. It will then report to the state government with recommendations on how to control the scale of legal fees and measures to keep them affordable for the average client.

NSW premier Bob Carr said the review had been established following more than 2760 written complaints about lawyers received by the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner (OLSC) last year. Of these, 20.3 per cent related to overcharging.

The majority of complaints related to allegations of negligence, which comprised 20.5 per cent, followed by poor communication, accounting for 15.8 per cent.

“Everyone has an anecdote about a lawyer handing them an outrageous bill, after a relatively small matter,” Carr said.

Recent examples of complaints to the OLSC included an elderly woman who received a card and phone call after the death of her husband from a family lawyer expressing sympathy. She later received a bill for both.

Another person’s lawyer billed them for 27 hours work in a single day and one senior partner charged $600 for photocopying.

“It is time there was more scrutiny in this area,” Carr said.

Shadow Attorney General Andrew Tink said that while he supports proposals to establish a Legal Fees Review Panel to target lawyers who overcharge, “I hope that the panel will also closely examine the Government’s attempts to increase court fees”.

“The Chief Justice recently expressed serious concern about lawyers who overcharge. His concerns must be fully investigated,” Tink said.

His comments followed Chief Justice Spigelman’s observations at the Opening of the Law Term dinner this month, which had in fact contributed to the decision to set up the Legal Fees Review Panel. “A handful of members of the profession exploit their positions by providing services that either do not need to be provided at all, or provide them in a more luxurious manner than is appropriate,” Spigelman said.

The panel will examine current legal costs and explore options for alternative methods, such as “value-based costing”, by which a client and lawyer determine exactly what is required and negotiate a cost on that basis.

The panel will examine how costs are calculated, how they are presented to clients, and how clients can object to fees that they consider unfair.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Greedy lawyers become the prey
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Two businessman, growth
Sep 19 2017
Aus catching up on international arbitration front
Australia is starting to see a spike in international arbitration with this set to continue over the...
Prison
Sep 19 2017
Manson family killer suffered ‘miscarriage of justice’: former lawyer
A retired Australian barrister has published a book on the Manson Family murders of 1969 and called ...
Belinda Lonsdale, WA
Sep 18 2017
New judicial appointments welcomed in WA
The Law Society of Western Australia has congratulated Belinda Lonsdale on her appointment to the di...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...