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Average Cost of Hiring a Lawyer to Draft a Contract?

Updated: March 28, 2023
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What’s the Average Cost of Hiring a Lawyer to Draft a Contract?

Contract drafting costs range between $200 and $800 for a simple contract and $1,000 and $5,000 for a complex contract. Contract attorneys can offer hourly or flat fee contract drafting services. The cost of drafting a contract depends upon the scope and depth of your objectives and complexity of terms and business relationship.

Here is an article about hiring a contract lawyer.

Simple Drafting

Simple contract drafting costs can range between $200 and $800 as a flat fee depending upon your needs. An online contract lawyer could also bill their services at an hourly rate between $100 and $350 an hour.

Click here to explore some hourly rates in our marketplace.

Complex or Bespoke Drafting

Complex or bespoke drafting is more expensive than simple contract drafting and ranges between $800 and $2,500 as a flat fee. Some online lawyers may charge an hourly rate between $150 and $500 an hour for more extensive services, such as contract negotiation and revisions.

How Do Lawyers Charge for Drafting?

Lawyers charge hourly fees, flat fees, or a combination of both for contract drafting services. Consider the differences between hourly vs. flat fee structures when hiring lawyers online.

Lawyer Hourly Fees

Lawyer hourly fees are billed by the hour and typically in 10- or 15-minute intervals. This billing method is less predictable and potentially more expensive since any number of issues can arise when you write and negotiate a contract. These issues can significantly increase your costs when compared to flat-fee contract drafting.

Flat-Fee Contract Drafting

Flat-fee contract drafting is a more predictable rate than compared to hourly lawyer fees. You agree to pay your attorney a flat rate. Your attorney agrees to perform agreed-upon services for that rate regardless of the time committed to complete it.

Here is an article about hiring a contract attorney on retainer.

Flat-Fee and Hourly Billing

In many circumstances, lawyers will agree to perform contract drafting on a flat fee basis. A normal engagement will include the below items:

  • Initial consultation
  • First draft of the document
  • Call to discuss document
  • One or two rounds of revisions

Sometimes flat-fee engagements can roll into hourly fees if you exceed what the lawyer has agreed to provide. It is critical there is a clear expectation of what is included in the flat fee before you start work, so that you don’t risk rolling into an hourly rate billing model.

Pro tip: Make sure you objectively outline what the lawyer will include in their flat fee and you make sure you are conscious of the number of rounds of revisions you receive.

ContractsCounsel’s Marketplace Data

Below are some high-level metrics that come from the ContractsCounsel marketplace. When looking at this data, it is important to keep in mind each project is unique and may have a certain set of terms that require more work and fees. In general, the more custom terms you want to include in your contract, the higher the price will be.

Below are flat-fee contract drafting ranges we see in our marketplace organized by document types:

  • Basic Service Contract - $485
  • Basic Sales Contract - $662.50
  • Basic Employment Contract - $450
  • Independent Contractor Agreement - $375
  • Partnership Agreement - $695
  • SaaS Agreement - $1,125

Note, these price points are based on data from our marketplace. Each project has many variables that can change the price of the project.

What’s Typically Included in Fees?

Attorneys’ fees for contract drafting typically include the following steps:

  • Initial consultation meetings
  • Attorney-client privilege protections and engagement letter
  • Initial client intake meeting
  • Questionnaire for key terms
  • Contract drafting
  • Review of contract with client
  • Client revisions
  • Re-delivery of finalized contract
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What Information Will You Need Ready?

It is essential to have good information on hand when drafting your contract. Not only will the organization save you time and money, but it also ensures that your agreement meets your needs.

Popular Drafting Assignments

ContractsCounsel’s most popular drafting assignments range from service contracts to end user license agreements. The most commonly drafted contracts for businesses include:

Service Contracts

Service contracts specify the terms around your services. It’s helpful to provide the following information when drafting service contracts:

  • Contact information of all parties
  • List of services offered
  • Estimates, invoices, and letters sent to your customer
  • Copies of any required licenses and certifications
  • Copies of any customer meeting notes you jotted down
  • Your standard payment terms and fee structure

Sales Contracts

Sales contracts are used in the commission of an asset or property. Bring the following information with you to your initial consultation:

  • Invoices and estimates issued to your customer
  • Contact information of all parties
  • The logistics of delivering your assets
  • Description of the goods or products being purchased
  • Meeting notes between you and the buyer
  • Your preferred payment plan

Employment Contracts

Employment contracts are essential for hiring full-time employees. You should supply the following information to your attorney:

  • Emails and letters to the employee
  • Copy of the job posting and description of the role
  • Contact information of all parties
  • Information contained in the hiring file
  • Information about wages and benefits you provide

Independent Contractor Agreements

Independent contractor agreements are essential when hiring temporary workers. Ensure you bring the following to your initial intake meeting:

  • Contact information of all parties
  • Proposals received by the contractor
  • Any existing contracts in place
  • Communications between you and the contractor
  • Copies of project postings
  • Wages and fee structure
  • Role being performed by the contractor

Consulting Agreements

Consulting agreements are vital when providing consulting services. Provide your attorney with the following information for better results:

  • Contact info for each party member
  • Communications exchanged between you and your client
  • Estimates, proposals, and invoices issued
  • Your business and meeting notes
  • A description of how you want your agreement structured
  • How you want payment and fees structured

Operating Agreements

Operating agreements are necessary filings for LLCs. Your attorney can draft one based on the following information:

  • Company formation date
  • Description of business purpose
  • Principal place of business address
  • Name and address of the registered agent
  • Company name
  • Number of members

Partnership Agreements

Partnership agreements set the terms between business partners and how they share assets and liabilities. Your attorney will find the following information helpful.

  • Names and contact information of each party
  • A copy of your business registration with the state
  • Copies of relevant licenses and certifications
  • Statements from partners on what they want out of the agreement
  • Copies of communications surrounding the partnership or business

ContractsCounsel Average Cost of Hiring a Lawyer to Draft a Contract

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Privacy Policies

Privacy policies are essential when you collect and store consumer data online. The following materials will aid your attorney in drafting a proper contract:

  • Types of information you collect
  • An explanation of why you collect it
  • A description of your customer data retention procedures
  • A description of how your customers can control their data
  • A list of third parties with whom you share the information

Promissory Notes

Promissory notes are helpful when you are lending money to a person or business. The following info will help your lawyer:

  • Communications between you and the other party
  • Files and documents surrounding the transaction
  • Copies of meeting and business notes recorded
  • A description of the terms and conditions surrounding repayment
  • A description of the terms and conditions surrounding interest

SaaS Agreements

SaaS Agreements are critical for software companies. Your attorney will draft an agreement from the following items:

  • A use limitation description
  • Number of users allowed
  • Name and contact info of parties
  • Rules surrounding your product use
  • A shortlist of contract objectives
  • What service your product provides
  • Any customer information collected

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What Is Normal Turnaround?

The normal turnaround time to write a contract depends upon the extent of the agreement in question as well as how many custom terms will be included by the lawyer. Simple agreements can take a matter of days. Complex/bespoke contracts could take weeks or months due to the need to negotiate terms and conditions for large projects.

The average turnaround time seen on the ContractsCounsel platform is roughly 5 business days.

Pros and Cons of Flat Fee Drafting

The pros and cons of flat fee drafting to draw up a legal document are another element to consider. While flat-fee drafting has many significant advantages, it also carries its fair share of drawbacks.

Pros of flat-fee contract drafting include:

  • Pro 1. Often more predictable pricing
  • Pro 2. Sometimes more affordable
  • Pro 3. Prevents additional charges

Cons of flat-fee contract drafting include:

  • Con 1. Lawyers can rush to finish
  • Con 2. Fees are based on average costs
  • Con 3. More expensive sometimes

Using Contract Templates to Start

Many business owners erroneously believe that starting with a contract template will save them money during the attorney legal drafting process. However, this strategy may actually tack on time and attorneys’ fees by approaching it from this manner.

If you start with a template that is not known to the lawyer, a lawyer will need to review the template and edit it to fit your use case. So, you’re paying for both the review of the template and drafting and tweaking. It can be more cost effective to have the lawyer draft a contract from scratch and use their own template.

Keep in mind that a contract is only as good as the language contained within it, and the drafting costs can add up on a template. Attorneys stake their profession on the line when it comes to contracts so much that they hold malpractice insurance policies to cover your losses in case something goes wrong.

If you have boilerplate business needs, you can have an attorney draft a bespoke contract that you can use for more routine transactions, such as employment and service contracts. This strategy allows you to save money on legal costs while achieving the goal of a scalable, repeatable process. Plus, you will have an attorney on hand if you need them to structure a more complicated deal.

Here is an article about the cost of attorney contract review.

Get Help with Contract Drafting

Get help with contract drafting by hiring a contract lawyer. Using an online boilerplate template can result in legal mistakes that cost you far more in the long run. Ensure that you receive what you want out of the contract drafting process by hiring a contract attorney to create the perfect document.

Here is another article about hiring a contract lawyer.

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