As a sole practitioner, I am able to keep my overheads well below those of the larger firms, who pay support staff, superannuation, rent and office expenses, and whose staff are expected to return a profit to the owner or partners.
These costs are passed on to the clients, but I do not have to do this.
I use current technology to keep in contact with my clients, and to run my office. I also access on-line research libraries and journals to keep abreast of changes in the law.
I charge the scale rate set by the Supreme Court Rules. (Click the following coloured tab for further information: Supreme Court Rules Costs Scale).
A number of firms will ask that you sign a “Costs Agreement” which allows the firm to charge you more than the scale rate.
I will require you to sign the standard Costs Agreement recommended by the Professional Standards division of the Law Society of SA..
Legal proceedings are expensive. My established practice is to use every endeavour to arrive at a settlement which is agreed between the parties, rather than resorting to the Courts.
In some cases, where a negotiated settlement cannot be reached, the only option is to ask the Court to decide what is a just and equitable division of the asset pool.
Fortunately, in my experience, less than half of property settlements are referred to the Courts. Settling matters by agreement results in significant savings to all parties.