How much does a lawyer make per hour?

Edit: One of the common complaints about lawyers is that they "make" hundreds of dollars per hour. This comes from the strange misconception that when you're paying a legal fee of $400 per hour, the individual lawyer is pocketing that money. This is a very bizarre assumption that is made of many professions... I've heard people complain that "a Big Mac is only worth 25 cents" as if everyone at MacDonalds worked for free and nobody has to pay for electricity, equipment, marketing, etc.

Literally nobody "makes" what they charge their customers. If they did, they would go out of business the second the office rent was due. Yet for some reason, people get upset that lawyers are "making" ten times more than they are.

I make this point because Quora Content Review keeps merging the below answer, for the question "how much does a lawyer charge per hour," with the question "how much does a lawyer make per hour." Rather than unmerging the questions yet again, I'm instead posting this answer to the question that Quora evidently isn't willing to ask: "why are these two questions not the same?"

Original Answer:

The base rate for a lawyer is usually somewhere between $250–$1000 an hour. Some charge less than that, some charge more. Lawyers will also outsource a lot of their work to paralegals and legal assistants, in which case the client gets charged less for those hours.

In addition, many lawyers (all lawyers should at least try) will provide a small amount of sliding scale or pro bono hours to people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer-in those cases, the lawyer charges between $0–$80 per hour, in addition to reducing or not charging for other costs.

And finally, many lawyers are going away from the "hourly rate" model altogether, and now charge a flat fee for a particular service... so for instance, a flat $600 for a contract draft. They try to price it so it averages out to what they would have charged per hour, which means some people with simpler contracts pay more per hour while complex contracts pay less per hour.


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