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I was recently instructed to prepare points of dispute and advise in relation to a bill running to a little over £220,000. Instructing solicitors had obtained various estimates from in-house and external draftsman. The other estimates varied from:
• 10-15 hours at £120 per hour
• 15-20 hours at £175 per hour
• 5 hours at £120 per hour
To be fair, these estimates appear to have all been given without the benefit of seeing the actual papers.
Nevertheless, 5 hours appears incredibly optimistic and it is difficult to see how it would be possible to properly read the papers in addition to drafting points of dispute in that time for a bill of this size. As to £175 per hour, nice work if you can get it but I would suggest this is not realistic for defendant insurance personal injury work.
To be fair, trying to estimate at the outset what it will cost to undertake this task is a virtually impossible task. How long is a piece of string? It would be like, I don’t know, trying to estimate at an early stage in the proceedings what the legal costs would be of conducting a complex claim through to trial. A fool’s errand.
(I estimated 10-14 hours at £118 per hour. Time actually spent: 8.7 hours. A margin of error of 13%-40% on my estimate.)