An article in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday has had UK divorce lawyers and their clients reeling with shock at the revelation that six figure mark-ups have been applied to solicitors’ fees for some of Baroness Shackleton's clients. However the explanation that she is slack with her time-keeping and makes herself available to clients out of hours appears to have been accepted and, moreover, her clients are reported as being happy with the service they have received. I guess when you are worth millions, there’s no need to worry about how to pay for your legal services.
For most people however costs are a major concern and they should be reassured by the fact that they are entitled from the outset to a full explanation of how costs will be calculated. Whilst it is always difficult to give a fixed quote in relation to cases arising from matrimonial issues, clients should expect to be given an estimate of the range of costs and a warning if an initial costs estimate is likely to be exceeded. Most family lawyers pride themselves on being transparent about their charging arrangements. Mark-ups, whether of the magnitude reported or otherwise, are not generally applied. On my own part, I endeavour to bill clients at monthly intervals and purely in relation to the time actually spent; that way there are no hidden shocks or mark-ups at the end of a matter.