The legal framework is based on the Rechtsanwalts-Vergütungs-Gesetz (RVG) which always applies unless agreed otherwise. In civil matters the RVG classifies typical activities of an attorney and attaches a tariff to it, based on the value of the matter and the difficulty/ volume of work to be done. Thus, the exact amount of the fees is usually not exactly predictable.
I only deal with mandates within my special area of expertise, namely the German-South African deceased estate. The RVG is not applicable in South Africa. My clients, domiciled there are used to attorney’s fees based on time spent anyway. And clients in Germany too accept the fact that a time-based remuneration in this specific area of the law is appropriate. Furthermore, in many cases, these fees are below the tariff in accordance with the RVG.
I have laid down my thoughts on time based remuneration based on many years of practical experience; they are published on this website.