How and what I charge

I work as an Advocate in private practice. My standard rate is $200 +GST per hour. The first conversation is free. After that I charge to discuss a case, to phone, Email, write, meet, negotiate, read, research, or think. I don’t charge postage, photocopying, or tolls, and I don’t charge for travel. Filing fees ($71.56 if a Grievance is submitted to the ERA) are the client’s responsibility.

No matter what the outcome of the case, the client is liable for my fees. I do not normally expect payment until the matter is finally resolved. I usually work for employees, and my track record of winning and/or negotiating settlements is well above 90%.

“to resolve matters as quickly and cheaply as possible”

I am careful to help each client to think hard about the outcome they want. I assess their case and advise on the best course of action to achieve their outcome. Usually they choose to act on my advice, sometimes they ignore it. I always tell them honestly what I think about their various options at each stage of the process.

  • Generally, a simple process (complaining about harassment, or support and representation in a disciplinary hearing) involves 3-6 hrs
  • Notifying a Personal Grievance, and negotiating a settlement or an exit package might involve 8-12hrs
  • Filing a Personal Grievance with the Employment Relations Authority, and going to mediation generally involves 12-16 hours
  • A hearing in the Employment Relations Authority usually involves 18-30 hrs.

These are substantial sums of money, but in more than 95% of more than 320 cases I have concluded so far, my clients have recovered their costs. In most cases I have done much better than that.

I always try to resolve matters as quickly and cheaply as possible. I always give the employer the option of negotiating a settlement informally so that both side’s costs are kept low.

Why not “No Win – no Fee” (Contingency)?

Some lawyers and advocates take cases on a “no win – no fee” basis. I don’t operate like that, because I always want to be in a position where I can deal with the “intangibles”, and act in my client’s best interest. Sometimes a client’s best interest is served by accepting a smaller settlement than they would have got by digging in and fighting. In a case like that, an Advocate who works on contingency has a conflict of interest.