What do the services of an attorney cost?
At the beginning of the assignment, the attorney-at-law agrees on the basis for the attorney’s fee with the client. The attorney’s fee is based on the required amount and nature of work involved in the assignment, but the final fee is normally calculated according to an hourly rate. Even the most experienced attorney is not always able to accurately estimate the final amount of the bill. However, attorneys-at-law have an obligation to keep their clients informed of any additional costs that were not evident at the beginning of the assignment.
Please also note that, in addition to the actual attorney’s fee, the attorney-at-law can charge costs incurred from handling the case, such as travel and accommodation costs and a daily allowance.
More information on the basis for attorney’s fees is available from
- the Finnish Bar Association’s Code of conduct for attorneys-at-law and Fee Guideline.
- Finland’s Trade code (Kauppakaari, 3/1734) includes a general provision on advocate’s fees (chapter 18, section 5):
- “An advocate shall receive reasonable pay for his troubles and compensation for his costs incurred from the affairs of others in court”.
State legal aid
Please note that public legal aid is available for attorney’s fees. The attorney-at-law will advise the client on legal aid and file the application, if the attorney considers the client to be entitled to it. The decision on legal aid is influenced by the applicant’s income, expenses and assets, along with the nature of the matter for which legal aid is being sought.
The state can grant legal aid from state funds for the whole attorney’s fee or part of it. Legal aid is also available for fees charged by authorities, such as application fees. Legal aid can also be granted as a percentage of the attorney’s fee, with the client covering the remainder from his or her own funds. The decision on state legal aid is made by the State Legal Aid Office on the basis of the attorney’s application. More information on legal aid is available on the website of the Ministry of Justice.
Legal expenses insurance
The attorney’s fee can also by covered by the client’s legal expenses insurance. Home insurance often includes a legal expenses component. In such cases, the client determines whether his or her insurance provider will cover the attorney’s fee entirely or in part. Legal expenses insurance normally includes a deductible that the client is required to pay.
Note! You should be careful about legal expenses insurance policies and read the terms. The types of legal expense policies available vary widely, so you should spend some time comparing them. Indeed, it is one of the Bar Association’s primary goals to have the terms of legal expenses insurance updated to better correspond to modern needs.