Fees are calculated on the basis of the following factors in accordance with Article 45 of the law on the profession of attorney:
Except under exceptional circumstances, this is the most important factor.
As a rule, Gross & Associés bills only the time spent by the partners, associates, trainees or other lawyers of the firm. The services of secretaries and other staff members are included in the billing rates for time spent by the attorneys of the firm handling the matter.
Gross & Associés bills time in tenths of an hour, i.e., for segments of 6 minutes. Other firms bill by periods of 15 minutes.
It is important to take this element into account in the comparison of costs, particularly as many tasks take only a few minutes to accomplish.
The following example provides a comparison of the two billing methods for a letter dictated in five minutes:
|Hourly Billing Rate||Hour Divided into||Cost of a Letter Dictated in 5’|
|CHF 300||10 units||CHF 30|
|CHF 300||04 units||CHF 75|
|CHF 400||10 units||CHF 40|
|CHF 200||04 units||CHF 50|
The hourly billing rate is set during the first meeting with the client.
The urgency of certain matters may require re-organisation of the firm’s schedule as well as giving up rest periods, family obligations, leisure activities, vacations, etc.
The difficulty of the matter as well as its deadlines will be considered.
The importance of the interests at stake must also be taken into consideration. The more important the interests at stake, the more effort the attorney must invest and the more the attorney must show proof of inventiveness, perseverance and determination.
Effectiveness and the results obtained must be compensated. This depends in part on the time spent on the matter but also on the personality of the attorney, his or her reputation, linguistic talents and availability, at times on his or her contacts and, above all, on his or her experience.
Nota bene : under Swiss law, the client and the attorney may not agree in advance of the proceedings on a percentage of the amount obtained to be charged in lieu of fees for professional services. Nor may the attorney agree to waive payment of his or her fees in the event of an unfavourable outcome of a trial.