How much does a trademark attorney earn
Clients often ask: Why does it happen that a lawyer can charge € 200 for “1 letter”? Extrapolated to a 40-hour week, every lawyer would have to have a luxury car in front of the door and paid off his villa in the shortest possible time. So what entitles him to take such high fees and what does the lawyer earn?
For the sake of transparency, we would like to take this opportunity to explain to you why legal fees are the way they are and what is left of them for the lawyer.
Highly specialized activity with a long training period
The lawyer provides a highly specialized service that requires many years of training, ongoing training and a high degree of responsibility and empathy. Against this background, the wages of a warehouse worker would not be justified here. Legal training takes around 7-8 years and requires a high school diploma. During this time, the "future lawyer" does not earn any money while others are already making money. This time advantage is only compensated for after around 30 years of activity.
But lawyers' income is also overestimated for other reasons.
High Value, High Fees - Low Value, Low Fees
The fees are not always the same for the same scope of work. Rather, it mostly depends on the amount in dispute. The legislature has graded the RVG rates. In other words, when it comes to a Ferrari, the lawyer has more responsibility than a Fiat Panda. This responsibility is also reflected in the fees. This is not unfair in that someone who argues about a Ferrari is more likely to be able to afford these fees. The representation in “little things” can be had for less than 100, - €, of course, but not anywhere near cost-covering. In return, these mandates are cross-financed by the others.
Most of the work is not seen at all
You must also not neglect that the lawyer is not only working when you are watching him and are present. He prepares for the interview, reviews the files at regular intervals and sifts through the case law on legal issues. You won't get any of this and yet the lawyer is working on the case. The result of hours of research and case testing is often summarized in one sentence. "We reject your claim." You can't tell from this sentence how much work has gone into it. As a rule of thumb, you can only "see" around 10% of the work done by a lawyer. In addition to the lawyer, paralegal assistants also work for you, without this being visible to you. The orderly filing, the preparation of briefs, the organization of appointments and and and. As these are services for the client that must also be remunerated.
Not all fees are the same
Some clients often equate the attorney's fees with his profits.
The lawyer incurs costs that are often hidden from the client. Like a car driver, the lawyer is obliged to take out liability insurance so that the client is reimbursed for his damage in the event of incorrect advice. The minimum sum insured is 250,000 euros, so you can imagine what is to be paid on this. The carefully working lawyer also has to keep himself informed about new court decisions, legislative proposals and legal situations. This includes the subscription to expensive special magazines, participation in educational events, the constant renewal of the library and access to legal research portals. An average comment alone costs around € 100, and the lawyer has to renew around 1 to 2 dozen comments annually. Other costs such as sales tax, office rent, postage and office supplies, the usual insurance, the acquisition, maintenance and leasing of the technical equipment are of course also incurred. In addition, the lawyer has to spend considerable personnel costs.
As a result, in average law firms, around 55 to 70 cents are spent on costs for every euro earned.
Also, keep in mind that the average fees have actually decreased since 1994. Any union would have rebelled on the wage freeze for 2 decades and subsequent wage cuts!
Secondary employment is not remunerated
It should also not be forgotten that the lawyer cannot account for every hour that he spends in the office. The actual processing of the mandate only takes up a fraction of the legal work. In addition, there are organizational work such as marketing, lectures, accounting, advanced training, seminars, public relations, acquisition of new clients and much more. Unlike an employee with a 40-hour week, the lawyer is not remunerated for these activities.
In addition, there are cases in which the lawyer provides advice or only receives the costs of legal aid. One example is that a lawyer who represents a client on the basis of a counseling certificate - regardless of whether he works for him for 30 minutes or 30 hours - only receives € 34. These mandates must also be financed from the remaining fees. A profit cannot be made on this basis.
What does that mean in concrete terms?
In order not to get lost in empty phrases, let's also talk Tacheles!
In the new federal states, the annual turnover of an average law firm is between € 79,000.00 (sole proprietorship) and around € 91,000.00 (per lawyer in a law firm). From this, the lawyer generates a profit of € 30,000.00 to € 40,000.00 (gross).
The average surplus of € 35,000.00 corresponds to an amount of almost € 3,000.00 per month. Compared with a salaried employee, this corresponds to a monthly gross of € 2,500.00, because unlike an employee whose employer pays part of the social security, the lawyer has to cover all expenses (health insurance, pension, etc.) himself and then comes to a net from an average of just under € 1,700.00. To do this, the lawyer has to work an average of 52 hours a week. That means a gross hourly wage of € 11.54. But this affects the average. It is not uncommon for a lawyer in our part of the world to earn less than € 2,000.00 gross per month. According to unofficial surveys by associations and chambers, around 1/4 of the local lawyers receive grants from family members and offices, with fatal consequences for the client as well.
According to the BRAO, a lawyer must have orderly finances. There are also good reasons for this. Imagine going to a lawyer whose finances are not in order. This could act in the interest of its fees rather than in your legal interest. In addition, of course, you also want the lawyer to represent your interests as best as possible, i.e. to know current case law and not lose cases because he only has legal comments that belong in archives.
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