City law firm Humphries Kerstetter says it has become the first firm of its kind to openly publish its prices online.

The boutique litigation firm published hour rates of its lawyers online this week. The firm’s homepage now has a list of prices which relate to the lawyer’s seniority.

Partner James Russell told the Gazette the decision came off the back of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) study into transparency and subsequent recommendations by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

Russell said: ‘It’s something we have always been open to and was not an issue that we had to debate strongly. More transparency, and knowing how much something costs, is a good thing. We believe our prices are competitive but it’s hard to know if no one is publishing their costs.’

He added that publishing rates would also help the firm with its ‘terms of engagement’ as the prices, which are non-negotiable, ‘will already be known’.

As well as hourly rates, the website also includes details about instances when the price may change, including scenarios under a conditional fee or damages-based agreement. Such arrangements are generally supported by commercial funding and insurance, the firm said.

The SRA has had price publishing in its sights for some time but was encouraged to act after the CMA’s recommendations last year. The CMA spent a year analysing the legal market and came out in support of greater transparency.

The SRA has also indicated that it is keen for firms to publish details of complaints.

Humphries Kerstetter said it would want to see what the take-up of those proposals would be, but added that it would consider implementing any measures that mean clients have the relevant information.

The rates are as follows.

  • Senior partner: £500 per hour
  • Partners: £330 to £400 per hour
  • Senior associates: £220 per hour
  • Associates: £180 per hour
  • Junior associates: £140 per hour
  • Trainees and paralegals: £80 per hour