A contract review attorney fee is the price you pay to have an attorney look over an agreement you're making with another party.

While it can be expensive, it's an extremely valuable process. This is because an attorney brings along years of experience and training to guide you. The attorney's knowledge can contribute to you getting the best deal possible in the contract you're creating.

Overall, hiring a contract lawyer to look over your agreement before signing can be one of the most crucial steps in the entire contracting process. However, it's not a requirement, meaning you'll have to make the decision on your own whether or not to hire an attorney before signing on the dotted line.

The Different Types of Contract Review

When you hire an attorney to review your contract, it can mean several different things. By understanding what a lawyer does when reviewing your contract, you can better protect your financial interests.

Issue-specific Contract Review

An issue-specific contract review is the cheapest form of contract review, as the lawyer will just look over a specific issue you have questions on. If you're on a tight budget, this is a good way to feel more confident before signing the agreement.

Some of the specific questions or provisions you might want to have a lawyer look at include:

  • Will I own the rights to what's being created?
  • Does my intellectual property suffer from this contract?
  • Does this non-compete covenant affect me at all?
  • Will I still be able to work with other clients if I sign this contract?
  • What does this non-solicitation clause mean in the scope of the agreement?

Basic Contract Review

One step up from an issue-specific contract review is a basic contract review. In this type of review, the attorney will look over the agreement on the surface level, answer any burning questions you have about the agreement, and note any areas in the contract that could use some attention.

Most basic contract reviews take place over the phone or through email, so they lack the personal touch you may want.

Basic Contract Review Plus Edits

If you're seeking something a little more comprehensive, you might appreciate a basic contract review plus edits. Not only will the lawyer review the contract and make notes about problem areas, but they'll also edit the contract to correct the issues. This is known as redlining a contract and can greatly speed up the entire process.

Contract Review Plus Negotiation

If you're not confident handling your contract at all, this is the level of contract review you'll need to choose. Basically, your lawyer will handle everything for you, including reviewing, editing, redlining, and negotiating the contract.

In serious contracts, negotiating can be difficult, as emotions can get heated between you and the other party. You might just keep going back and forth with neither side giving way. A lawyer can come into this situation as an uninvolved third party so you can finally make some progress with negotiations.

How Contract Review Pricing Works

Typically, lawyers use either flat-fee pricing or hourly rate pricing when reviewing contracts. However, because each lawyer sets his or her own prices, the fees can vary greatly depending on who you choose.

Flat-free Pricing

Flat-free pricing is becoming more and more common in the modern age. It's great for the customer, as you'll just pay a single set fee for contract review, regardless of how long your lawyer works on the project.

However, that doesn't mean flat-fee pricing is always a set rate. Most lawyers will determine the flat fee after they take a quick look at the scope of the contract and see how much work it will take.

If you do find a lawyer that offers a set rate without looking at your contract or charges a set rate by the page, this could be a red flag. In many cases, a one-page contract can have more complexities than a 100-page contract. Any knowledgeable lawyer should recognize this right away, which is why the best lawyers ask to see the contract before setting their rate.

Hourly Pricing

Hourly pricing is a more traditional approach in which the lawyer asks for a retainer at the beginning of the assignment. Then, they will subtract their hourly fees from this retainer until the work is over or the retainer needs to be replenished.

Overall, hourly rates vary greatly, but expect a range from $100 per hour to $750 per hour.

If you need help with a contract review attorney fee, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.