How much does an immigration attorney cost

Lawyer Fee Calculator: What Does a Lawyer Cost?

1. When & for what are legal fees incurred?

An attorney may charge extrajudicial and judicial attorney fees as well as reimbursement of his expenses and costs for his or her work.

Due to the law on the remuneration of lawyers (RVG) and the Federal Lawyers' Act (BRAO), a lawyer must comply with statutory minimum and maximum limits. He may only issue one final invoice per case - if necessary, he can split this up into advances and partial invoices.


Extrajudicial legal fees

Various fees may apply for out-of-court activities of the lawyer:

  • Initial consultation fee: The lawyer gives advice or information in an initial general and approximate introductory consultation.
  • Consultation fee: If further discussions or contacts with the lawyer take place after the initial consultation, a consultation fee is incurred when billed according to the RVG. This may only be collected if new aspects and questions are dealt with that were not yet an issue during the initial consultation.
  • Business fee: This fee falls e.g. B. for the preparation of documents, correspondence with the opponent or for the development of settlement proposals. It is not fixed and can vary depending on the difficulty of the matter. If an initial consultation fee was incurred beforehand, this will be fully offset against the business fee.
  • Settlement fee: The settlement fee is due if the lawyer can reach an out-of-court settlement between his client and the other party. Since this saves a lot of money and time for an expensive legal process, he is allowed to charge a fee for the settlement.

If the client is a private person or consumer, the fee for the initial consultation may not exceed € 226.10 and the Consultation fee amount to a maximum of € 297.50 (including VAT).


The following table shows some examples from the legal fee calculator. All values ​​refer to an out-of-court representation with agreement (plus VAT).

Item value up to ... €

Average business fee in €

Extrajudicial settlement fee in €




















Legal attorney fees

If the matter cannot be resolved out of court, judicial proceedings can follow through several instances. The following legal fees may arise:

  • Procedural fee: Let the lawyer file a lawsuit and he will represent you in court. Likewise, if he is defending you against a lawsuit and communicating with the court in writing or orally. A procedural fee is charged for representation in court. If an extrajudicial business fee has previously been incurred, half of this will be offset against the procedural fee.
  • Appointment fee: If he appears at judicial appointments, expert appointments or another meeting, an appointment fee is due in addition to the procedural fee.
  • Settlement fee: If the legal proceedings are already under way and the lawyer can reach an agreement between the parties to the dispute before the verdict is reached, a fee for participation in the settlement is added to the lawyer's fees. In return, this reduces the court costs. It does not apply if there is no agreement.


The following table contains some examples of legal attorney fees plus VAT based on the attorney fee calculator. The examples assume that the court process will be terminated by an agreement in the first instance.

Value in dispute up to ... €

Procedure fee in €

Appointment fee in €

Judicial settlement fee in €


























Reimbursement of expenses

In addition to his work, the lawyer can do all of them settle its costs such as B. Expenses for copies, postage, official information fees or travel expenses for court appointments.

For all expenses for postal and telecommunications services, he may estimate a flat rate of 20% of the fees, but a maximum of € 20.00.


2. How are legal fees calculated?


There are 3 remuneration models, according to which legal fees can be calculated. The lawyer can decide for himself which model he uses to determine his fee for legal representation:

  • Cost tables of the Lawyers' Remuneration Act
  • Individual compensation agreement
  • Fee agreement

In principle, the Lawyers' Remuneration Act applies to the calculation of legal fees. If the RVG does not prescribe a specific fee, z. B. a fee agreement is possible.


Variant 1: Calculation according to RVG

Basically, the calculation according to the RVG is almost always chosen in order to determine the legal fees incurred. To do this, the case becomes a assigned certain monetary value. This value in dispute in court (referred to as the object value in extrajudicial activities) is the basis for calculating the lawyer's fees.

In the RVG, a basic fee is assigned to each amount in dispute. This so-called Value fee is multiplied by a legally determined factor. How high the factor is depends on the type (e.g. extrajudicial or judicial procedure) and difficulty of the legal work to be billed:

  • The lawyer may only demand a fee of more than 1.3 if the activity was extensive or difficult.
  • In the case of dunning procedures, the legal fees are based on the simple (1.0) fee rate.


Ms. A. would like to request a purchase price payment of € 5,000 that has not been made by dunning notice:

  • The € 5,000 is the object value.
  • The RVG sets a basic fee of € 334 for this, which is multiplied by the simple fee rate.
  • The attorney's fees in the dunning procedure including VAT and postage are thus € 421.26.

According to Section 49b (1) BRAO, lawyers are prohibited from charging lower fees and expenses than the RVG provides. However, in individual cases in special circumstances there is the possibility of agreeing a reduction with the lawyer.


Variant 2: remuneration agreement

If the lawyer would like to charge more or less than the law stipulated in the RVG, he must conclude a remuneration agreement with his client. This allows the extrajudicial legal fees to be made more flexible - but are in court only higher Remuneration agreements permitted.

A remuneration agreement can be useful if the RVG billing would be too low or too high for the scope and degree of difficulty of the legal work or the amount of the remuneration is still completely unclear when taking on the mandate.

As part of the remuneration agreement, a Flat rate or time fee arrange:

  • If he agrees on a flat fee with his client, is one fixed sum to be agreed in writing, which covers the entire work of the lawyer - regardless of the specific effort.
  • Agree on a time allowance, becomes one certain hourly rate With regard to the hours actually worked, the lawyer has documentation and evidence obligations - but does not have to prove whether the documented hours were actually necessary.


Variant 3: Fee agreement

The fee agreement can be useful if the lawyer carries out a general initial consultation and gives verbal or written advice, prepares a written opinion on the legal situation or negotiates as a mediator between two parties to the dispute.

In contrast to the remuneration agreement, statutory maximum amounts apply to the fee agreement. These are intended to prevent the client from receiving high lawyers' bills when checking their issue. Deviations from these maximum rates can only be made through an agreement.

Maximum limits of the fee agreement:

  • 190 euros for an initial consultation (including VAT max. 226.10 €) according to § 34 RVG
  • 250 euros for legal opinions and further consultations (including VAT max. 297.50 €)

Since a ruling by the Federal Court of Justice in 2017 (Az. AnwZ (Brfg) 42/16), free initial consultations are also possible. From these prices However, only consumers benefit. With self-employed persons and entrepreneurs, higher costs for a consultation are possible.

Since the fee agreement, unlike the remuneration agreement, is not tied to a specific form, it does not have to be recorded in writing.


3. Who pays the legal fees?

If you are seeking legal advice, you will have to pay for the legal fees basically carry yourself. The lawyer will issue you an invoice in which all cost items and a payment deadline are noted.

In some cases, however, legal fees can be covered.


Inferior opposite side

The following applies in civil proceedings: Anyone who loses in court must bear all the costs of the legal dispute. Although the client must first pay the lawyer's bill himself, he can then demand reimbursement of the legal fees from the other party at the statutory rate (RVG). You will have to bear any additional costs, such as those arising from a remuneration agreement.

If the opponent refuses to assume the costs despite the obligation to pay, you can have the costs set by the court and enforce against the opponent.

In the criminal process you have to pay the attorney's fees in the event of a conviction. In the event of an acquittal, the state treasury pays the legal fees. However, this only applies to a calculation according to the RVG - if a remuneration agreement has been concluded, only the RVG fees will be reimbursed.


Legal protection insurance

If you have taken out legal protection insurance, in many cases this will pay your lawyer’s fee in the statutory amount according to the RVG. Which insurance pays the legal fees depends on whether the insurance policy covers the jurisdiction of the case. In the event of uncertainty, it can therefore be useful to as early as possible to make a cover request.

If the payment of the legal expenses insurer is delayed, the legal fees must first be interpreted.


Advice & legal aid

Anyone who has no money for legal advice or out-of-court representation does not need to do without legal counsel - for these cases the legislature has created the possibility of advice and legal aid.

One Right to advice According to § 1 Advisory Assistance Act (BerHG), people who cannot pay the costs for legal advice or representation and who have no other help available. The authorization certificate required for this must be applied for at the responsible local court.

If the court approves the application after examining the economic situation, your lawyer will settle its costs with the state treasury - it will only be included Own contribution of 15.00 € due.

People who can't pay for a lawsuit have one Right to legal aid. An application must also be submitted to the competent court for this purpose.

If the court approves the application after an examination, it can issue a complete takeover the legal and court costs or a Installment payments arrange.

When negotiating within the voluntary jurisdiction (including inheritance, custody, association matters) legal aid is considered Legal aid granted.


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Your advantages:

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5. FAQ: the most important thing about legal fees
What does a lawyer cost per hour?

It is not possible to say in general what a lawyer charges per hour. In principle, the regulations of the Lawyers' Remuneration Act (RVG) apply. If lawyers bill for their work on the basis of an hourly fee agreement, the prices can vary widely. In addition to the individual case, there are also depending on whether the client is a consumer or a company.

Who pays extrajudicial legal fees?

If the parties to the dispute can reach an out-of-court agreement, each side must generally bear its own legal fees. There is an exception if there is a so-called "material-legal claim for reimbursement" against the opponent - e.g. B. for claims for damages.

Which legal fees are tax deductible?

Legal fees can in certain cases be deducted from tax as income-related expenses. This applies e.g. B. for legal disputes between landlord and tenant, disagreements with the pension, disputes with the employer and possibly disputes with the insurance company after a car accident.

When do legal fees become statute-barred?

According to Section 195 of the German Civil Code (BGB), a lawyer’s claim for remuneration expires after 3 years. The period begins at the end of the year in which the costs were incurred.