What does a code of ethics document cost? If you run a company or organization, you may ask this question. Let’s explore this question and review some general information about code of ethics documents.
How Much Does a Code of Ethics Cost?
A code of ethics is a document that businesses and organizations use to establish their:
- Principles of conduct
While this document has no legal ramifications, it can serve as a policy statement that an organization expects its employees to follow. Code of ethics will also include penalties for violating the company’s policies.
A company’s code of ethics is usually published along with the organization’s mission statement, values, and other policy documents. Therefore, it should be easily accessible for all employees to access and read.
Any law doesn’t require a code of ethics, but it can be a valuable document for an organization. A well-written code can provide the following:
- Policy for the actions and behavior of employees
- Public statement of an organization’s core values
- Risk mitigation by stating the consequences of violating the code
- Benchmark for employee evaluation
- Outline of high standards for the company
Many organizations choose to hire an attorney to draft the code of ethics. An attorney will know what information should be included in the document and how to phrase policies to represent the organization best.
Based on ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data, the average cost of a code of ethics is $1,125 across all states and industries.
What is Included in a Code of Ethics?
Codes of ethics will vary based on each organization, its values, and its mission as a company. Therefore, this document is highly customizable, and there is no set format for how a code of ethics must be drafted.
While the message may vary from company to company, a standard code of ethics will include the following information:
- Introduction: The introduction should be a clear and concise statement of the organization’s values. This is often a message directly from the CEO of the company.
- Statement of Values: The purpose of a code of ethics is to document the company’s values, so these values should be clearly stated. Some values include a mission statement, financial goals, professional standards, or social aspirations.
- Rules of Conduct: These are the rules that employees are expected to follow while representing the company. Some rules you may find in a code of ethics are moral values like respect and honesty, truth in advertising, and discrimination policies.
- Enforcement: It is important to include a section about how the code of ethics will be enforced and the consequences for violating the rules of conduct and company values described in the code.
- Additional Resources: Many companies add the contact information for their human resource department, so if an employee has any questions about the code of ethics, they know who to contact.
Code of Ethics Projects
Code of Ethics Drafting
Hiring an attorney to draft a code of ethics is highly recommended. This document is used to communicate a company’s core values and standard of conduct and needs to be drafted correctly.
An attorney will know what information needs to be included in the code and the best way to display the organization’s mission.
Before an attorney drafts a company’s code of ethics, they will usually have a consultation with the company owner. The lawyer will learn about the company and get a clear idea of the standards and values that the owner wishes to include in the code of ethics.
After the lawyer has gathered all the necessary information, they will draft a code of ethics to represent the company.
Code of Ethics Review
Some company owners choose to draft their code of ethics. While this is entirely possible, it is recommended that the owner hire a lawyer to review the code of ethics before it is published.
A lawyer will review the code to fix any mistakes and ensure it includes all important information like a clear statement of the company’s standards and rules or consequences for violating the code.
Code of Ethics Drafting Cost
The cost to draft a code of ethics will vary based on:
- The lawyer
- How long it takes to write the code
- Any additional legal services like consultations, revisions, and communications
ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows that the average cost to draft a code of ethics is $989 across all states and industries.
Code of Ethics Review Cost
Reviewing documents like a code of ethics will utilize an attorney’s time and expertise, so if a company chooses to have a lawyer look over their code of ethics before publishing, they will incur legal fees.
ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average cost to review a code of ethics is $1250 across all states and industries.
How Do Lawyers Charge for a Code of Ethics?
Hourly Rates for Code of Ethics
Hourly rates are one of the most common fee structures for lawyers in all legal fields. In this fee agreement, a lawyer will bill their client for the number of hours a case or project takes at a predetermined rate.
Typically, clients will be billed periodically throughout the duration of the case. The client may receive one bill after the legal services for shorter projects.
Attorneys often prefer hourly rates because it allows them to keep track of their time spent working on a case and receive compensation for all completed work.
For a client, hourly rates can be nerve-racking because they will not know their total legal fees until the end of the project.
ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average hourly rate for a code of ethics lawyer ranges from $200 - $350 per hour.
Flat Fee Rates for Code of Ethics
When an attorney is hired to complete a specific task like drafting or revising a code of ethics, they may opt to use a flat fee rate structure rather than bill hourly. In this fee agreement, the lawyer will assess the project and quote the client a flat rate fee for the task. This fee is typically required to be paid upfront before the lawyer begins work.
While many attorneys like flat fee rates because they don’t have to log their hours, they are taking a financial risk. Suppose a project or case takes longer than expected or involves more work than estimated. In that case, a lawyer will not be compensated for extra time.
Before agreeing to a flat fee, a client should fully understand the fee. Consultations, communication, revisions, and legal guidance may not be included in the flat fee.
ContractsCounsel’s marketplace data shows the average flat fee rate for a code of ethics is $1,125.
Get Help with a Code of Ethics
Do you need help with a code of ethics project? If so, post a project in ContractsCounsel’s marketplace to receive flat fee bids from corporate lawyers to handle your project. All lawyers on the ContractsCounsel’s platform are vetted by our team to make sure you are provided with top-tier service.