The German legislator’s yearning for perfection has made him enact a statute on the payment of practising lawyers. The Rechtsanwaltsvergütungsgesetz (RVG) is very complicated. As a result, the fees can hardly be predicted. There are lawyers specialising in professional malpractice concerning their colleagues’ invoices.
One thing is good about the RVG: The first consultation shall cost a consumer no more than € 190 (+expenses and VAT). The amount will be credited, if further billable actions are necessary.
Apart from the cap on the fee for a first consultation, I try to avoid applying the RVG.
I prefer flat fees. We agree in advance, what I have to do and how much you have to pay. So you know exactly what you pay and what you get. I spare a lot of back-office work, because x-copies, telephone calls und time sheets needn’t be documented in detail.
Hourly billing is possible as well. The fee for an hour depends on the risk of becoming liable and the total of billing hours. If the total of billing hours is less than 10 and my liability capped at € 250.000, I charge € 264 per hour, plus expenses and VAT.
Contingency fees and conditional fees are allowed in Germany only exceptionally, if otherwise the client will not pursue his claim. The case causing the Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) to call for the exception concerned the American heirs of a Jewish real estate owner who had been expropriated by the nazis. If you think, your situation is similarly exceptional, and hourly billing or a flat fee are not apt, contact me.