All 200 members of the QualitySolicitors network are to abandon hourly rates in favour of fixed fees for all their services next year, the Gazette can reveal.

Under what founder Craig Holt called an ‘industry-changing plan’ the new model will be piloted at 15 member firms this month. They will stop charging for work by the hour for all services, including litigation. The ‘QS Price Promise’ will guarantee an upfront price for all legal work, following a free meeting to determine the scope of the work.

Holt said the move is a response to client demand. ‘Above all else, clients told us how much they dislike the open-ended, uncertain nature of charging by the hour,’ he said. The initiative has been piloted since August at two firms, QS Lockings in Hull and Beverley, and QS Clapham & Collinge in Norwich.

Holt said that ‘a small number of firms have not shared our appetite for improving the client position and have left’. He declined to name any members that have refused the fixed-fee model.

The Gazette reported two weeks ago that two firms had decided to quit the alliance, though neither mentioned pricing as the reason.

Holt said fixed fees would not be mandated across all firms until the pilot phase had been assessed, but said he is ‘confident of widespread adoption’.