There is a popular ideology that lawyers charge a very large sum of money when their services are required. This actually is not always true. Hiring a lawyer is definitely not free. So let us take a look at the average cost to hire a lawyer in Nigeria for various cases and circumstances.
Who is a Lawyer?
A lawyer is best describes as an advocate and a practitioner of the law of a particular land. This is why we also call them Barristers, Advocates or Solicitors.
According to Section 24 of Nigeria’s Legal Practitioners Act, a “Legal Practitioner” is described as “a person entitled in accordance with the Legal Practitioners Act to practice as a barrister and solicitor either generally or for the purpose of any particular office or in essence, an individual may be entitled to practice in any area of the law in any court or he may be entitled to practice only for the purpose of a particular office or for the purpose of a particular proceeding”.
Take Nigeria for example, a Lawyer is an advocate and solicitor of the supreme court of Nigeria which is the highest court in Nigeria.
Difference Between a Barrister and Solicitor
Barrister is the lawyer primarily involved in litigation. He/she is majorly the representative of the client in the court of law. A Solicitor, on the other hand, is mainly involved in office work. Their major focus is the documentation and preparation for the court case.
Legal issues are very technical. It is very important to have legal representation by lawyers so as to make matters easier for you.
For example, section 22(1)(d) of the Legal Practitioners Act, 1975 provides that;
“Subject to the provisions of this section, if any person other than a legal practitioner prepares for or in expectation of reward any instrument relating to the grant of probate or letters of administration, or relating to or with a view to proceedings in any court of record in Nigeria;
He is guilty of an offence and liable, in the case of an offence under the above paragraph to a fine of an amount not exceeding N200 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or both such fine and imprisonment, and in any other case to a fine of an amount not exceeding N100.”
Cost to Hire a Lawyer in Nigeria
How much does it Cost to Hire a Lawyer in Nigeria? The cost of hiring a lawyer in Nigeria is determined mainly by the reason for which the lawyer is being hired and the level and experience of the lawyer to be hired.
Always ask your lawyer for a Fee Quote. The fee quote should be in writing and in clear, direct language that you are comfortable with.
Lawyers charge in different ways. The fees charged by a Lawyer may include one or some of the following:
- fixed-rate fee
- appearance fee
- hourly rate fee
- contingent fee
- percentage fee or
- consultation fee
Let me briefly discuss the cost to hire a lawyer in Nigeria based on some cases.
Hiring a lawyer in Nigeria depends on various things. The experience, professionalism and level of the lawyer matter a lot.
A Senior Advocate can charge one million naira for legal representation alone while a senior Lawyer who has been in practice for twelve years can charge five hundred thousand for the same thing. It all depends.
Most times, in cases like Recovery of Debt, the lawyer may demand 10%-20% of the debt as his payment. But note that this percentage does not contain payment Legal Fees.
Legal Fees are the amounts you use to file your court processes. The money you used to go to court and other charges paid to the court.
For other cases like Criminal Matters, a lawyer can charge as much as ₦300,000 – ₦700,000, depending on the intensity or circumstances surrounding the case.
For cases like Divorce or Acoustody, a lawyer or law firm can charge as much as ₦800,000 – ₦1,000,000 depending on the circumstances surrounding the case and the experience of the lawyer.
For cases of Election, a law firm can be paid as much as 100Million Naira and above to handle the court cases and all other legal matters.
Note that these prices mentioned above were gotten from research conducted by MyInfoConnect Team. Various Lawyers may have their own personal or company billings or charges
Factors that Influence the Cost to Hire a Lawyer
- The time and labour required, the novelty and the difficulty of the questions involved and the skill required to conduct the cause properly.
- Whether the acceptance of employment in the particular case will preclude the lawyer’s appearance for others in cases likely to arise out of the transaction, and in which there is a reasonable expectation that otherwise he would be employed.
- Whether the acceptance of employment will involve the loss of other employment while employed in the particular case of antagonisms with other clients.
- The customary charges of the Bar for similar services; provided that in determining the customary charges of the Bar, the lawyer may consider a schedule of minimum fees, if any adopted by the Bar Association, but he is not bound to follow it strictly or alone
- The amount involved in controversy and the benefits resulting to the client from the services.
- The contingency or the certainty of the compensation
- The character of the employment, whether casual or for an established or constant client
Some specific rules guide the payment of a lawyer.
- In the Rules of Professional Conduct, a lawyer is entitled to be paid adequately for his services. So the last thing you want to do is to owe a lawyer. Lol, you don’t want to get sued.
- Usually, a pre-existing contract is to be made by the lawyer and the client on the basis of payment and the charge to be paid to the lawyer for services rendered.
- A lawyer shall not enter into an agreement to pay for or bear the expenses of his client’s litigation save the case of convenience and reimbursement arrangements by the client
- In the Rules of Professional Conduct, the professional fees charged by a lawyer for his services shall be reasonable and commensurate with the services rendered
How to Find a Good Lawyer/Attorney at a Fair Cost
There are thousands of lawyers in Nigeria. But in the midst of the good ones, the quacks are still there. A good lawyer is there to help those in trouble now and those who want to avoid trouble in the future.
If you have a very complicated case, always seek an experienced lawyer in that field.
So, here is how you find a good lawyer
- Make use of Professional Lawyers Network like hg.org and find well-experienced lawyers
- Seek recommendations from your friends and business partners. They might have good suggestions for you
- Next, make a shortlist of all the possible options you have found through your research and contact them one by one.
- Have a profile in your mind of what you want your ideal lawyer to be, and then match the responses you get from the individuals on your shortlist to decide whether they meet the requirement.
- Make selections based on PERSONALITY, COMMUNICATION SKILLS, EXPERIENCE, REFERENCES, SIZE OF FIRM, PAST CASES HANDLED, and FEES
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