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Why are legal fees expensive and unpredictable?

How are standard legal services (e.g. consultation, preparing documents) priced and how does Legal Tree help make these services simple and affordable?

Finding a lawyer to help you is one thing but knowing if you can afford his/her legal fees is another. Unfortunately, the legal profession does not have any mandatory standard rates for legal services and it also does not help that lawyers & law firms do not publish their rates. While the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in certain provinces (e.g. Cebu City, Davao City, Iloilo City, Leyte) publish recommended rates for legal services in its province, these rates are not mandatory but serve only as a guide for pricing legal services. This makes it difficult for a person to determine (a) how much hiring a lawyer will cost; and (b) if he/she is getting a reasonable price when hiring a lawyer.

What further complicates the pricing of legal fees is the many factors that affect it (e.g. the nature and complexity of the case, the lawyer’s experience and reputation). This all contributes to a person's anxiety and apprehension to talk to a lawyer because they do not know how expensive the bill will be. While some lawyers handle cases pro bono (e.g. for free), they usually offer their services only to indigent people or those who are truly poor (click here for a list of legal organizations offering pro bono services).

Let us take a look at the legal fees for the usual legal services availed of (e.g. legal consultations and preparing documents).

A. Legal consultations

This refers to your ordinary consultation with a lawyer on your legal concern. This normally involves you explaining to the lawyer your legal concern and the lawyer giving you preliminary advise as well as recommended next steps. The consultation is normally a preparatory step before a more formal and detailed engagement between you and the lawyer. 

The minimum for an hourly consultation is around PHP 1,000.00 outside of Metro Manila and PHP 2,500.00 in Metro Manila. The rate only goes higher depending on the lawyer. There is no standard rate for an hourly consultation so it is best to ask for the consultation fee before booking a consultation.

B. Preparing personal & business documents

Preparing personal & business documents includes preparing any document you may possibly need for your personal and business transactions. This is naturally more expensive than a plain legal consultation because it involves the lawyer preparing a written document. The rate for preparing a document varies depending on the (a) complexity of the document; and (b) lawyer preparing the document.

In certain cases, such as a deed of sale, the price of the document is tied to the value of the property being sold (e.g. 3% of the fair market value) which can make it very expensive. For example, the recommended rate for preparing a deed of sale in one province is 2% of the purchase price, but in no case will be less than PHP 1,500.00. Simple documents such as affidavits cost a minimum of PHP 1,000.00 outside of Metro Manila and around PHP 2,000.00 in Metro Manila. 

Need simple and affordable legal services?

Legal Tree makes getting (a) legal consultations; and (b) personal & business documents simple and affordable.

If you need a legal consultation, just submit your legal question using our “Ask an Attorney” service and a lawyer will contact you within 3 business days to advise you. The service is fixed at only PHP 500.00 for a 30-minute consultation. Premium members enjoy unlimited attorney consultations.

On the other hand, if you need a personal or business document for your transaction, we can help you prepare your document anytime online within minutes. The price of our documents range only from PHP 350.00 to PHP 450.00. For example, we charge a fixed price of only PHP 450.00 for a deed of sale and do not base it on the purchase price. Premium members enjoy unlimited use of documents.

Ready to use Legal Tree? Just sign up either for a Free or Premium account by clicking here. With Premium membership you have (a) unlimited use of our library of 110+ documents, from affidavits to contracts; and (b) unlimited attorney consultations with our Ask an Attorney service. Click here to learn more about the benefits of Premium.


The Legal Tree team