Your Investment // Fees
We have not yet had the pleasure of meeting? In that case we would be delighted to invite you to an initial consultation so that we can get to know each other a little better. The purpose of the initial consultation is for you to communicate and describe your problems and queries to us and for us to provide you with an initial brief assessment of the issue and legal situation at hand. Subsequently, we will decide on a course of action and the costs that ensue.
We charge an initial consultation with the amount of EUR 150.00 for the duration of up to one hour. But we leave the best till last: If you make use of our online booking system for your appointment, we can offer you the initial consultation at a reduced rate.
Billing according to the bar tariffs, an hourly rate or as a flat-rate:
Billing of attorney fees are subject to a free agreement between an attorney and his client. The following billing methods are most commonly put into practice:
For the most part within the attorney industry work is billed according to an hourly rate. In such a case we will agree on an adequate hourly rate and bill this according to the actual accrued expenditure of time spent working. Of course you will be issued with a detailed list of all the services we provided for you.
The actual hourly rate is calculated according to the subject, the complexity and the urgency of the issue. An overview about different hourly rates harged by medium-sized German lawoffices in different sectors is offered by platform statista.de, whereas the fees of Austrian attorneys can be compared to those of German ones.
The main advantage of an hourly rate is the increased transparency of the invoice. Aside from that, all services provided by the attorney – no mat-ter if those are consultations, letters or negotiations – are valued at the same price. For historical reasons this is not the case when billing according to a bar tariff (see below).
In the case that our workload can easily be estimated in advance, it is possible to offer our services at a flat-rate. This is often the case when it comes to real-estate transactions and other contractual matters.
The main advantage of a flat-rate fee is that both parties can plan their costs in the best way possible. On the other hand, establishing a flat-rate fee in advance means that the attorney can plan his or her workload in advance.
If no other billing regulation is agreed upon, the legislature stipulates a system for attorney fees. Those regulations can be found in the Austrian Lawyer’s Tariff Law (RATG), the General Fees Criteria (AHK) , and the Notary Tariff Law (NTG) which is referenced on occasion by the RATG. Invoicing according to the tariff is an option that can easily be verified and is viewed as particularly fair by law.
Billing according to tariff is recommended when facing a judicial dispute in court. This is because the prevailing party can claim legal expense com-pensation from the unsuccessful party. On the other hand, the attorney will focus mainly on the legal representation in court and potentially pro-vide rather dubious results in other aspects. In such a case it may be more advantageous for both parties to charge at an hourly basis or a flat-rate.
Detailed information regarding the billing of attorney fees can be found in the brochure "Mein Recht ist kostbar", published by the Austrian Bar Association.
Legal Expense Insurance
We regularly work in close cooperation with legal expense insurance companies. If you do have your own legal expense insurance, we will clarify with your insurance company as to whether they will issue a cover note for the mandate. For this reason we ask you to kindly state your insurance and policy number during your initial consultation with us. In the case you receive confirmation of cover, we intend to bill all our expenses directly through your insurance. To the extent to which direct billing with your legal expense insurance is possible, you personally will not be liable of any costs.
Terms of Conditions for Attorneys
All services provided by Schmelz lawfirm, as well as RA Mag. Eva Schmelz and RA Mag. Dorian Schmelz, are based on
- if you are a consumer, the contract terms for lawyers (consumers);
- if you are an entrepreneur, the contract terms for lawyers (entrepreneurs).
One thing you can be sure of
The services we provide to you are worth their money and your investment will carry a good interest. It isn’t without good reasons that it is said: “There’s one thing more expensive than having a lawyer, and that is not having one.”