Without an in-house legal team, businesses often encounter time-consuming contracts with high, unpredictable contract lawyer fees. Even if you negotiate pricing and prepare documents in advance, the hefty rate doesn’t go away.

This is mainly because of deal complexity, attorney experience, specific industry/niche, and the geographic market. And cutting corners on contract reviews—which has been proven to be a high-risk gamble that leads to costly mistakes—isn’t an option. But there’s a faster, more affordable way to avoid risks associated with unreviewed contracts.

In this article, we’ll walk you through four common contract reviews, how contract review pricing works, when a company needs it, and a contract automation platform you can try for free to review contracts in less than 24 hours.

4 Different types of contract reviews

From basic to complex, here are the four most common types of contract reviews.

  1. Basic contract review. This is a high-level overview of the contract to identify any major issues or areas that may need clarification. It’s a suitable process for low-risk, standard-form contracts. The focus is on understanding the general scope of the agreement, obligations of the parties, payment terms, termination clauses, and any other significant provisions.
  2. Contract review with edits. In this type of review, the contract is analyzed in detail, and specific edits or modifications are proposed to address concerns or improve the terms. This may involve correcting errors, clarifying ambiguous language, inserting additional provisions, or deleting clauses that are unfavorable or unnecessary.
  3. Contract review with negotiation. It goes beyond simple edits and involves actively engaging with the other party or parties to discuss and negotiate changes to the contract terms. This may include proposing alternative language, seeking concessions, or advocating for specific provisions to be included or modified.
  4. Issue-specific contract review. This review focuses on specific concerns within the contract rather than examining the entire document. For example, it may be conducted to assess the adequacy of indemnification provisions, evaluate intellectual property rights, or analyze the allocation of risk for a particular aspect of the agreement.

How contract review pricing works

Some lawyers may charge on an hourly basis (unpredictable) or provide a flat-fee charge (predictable)—while others implement a hybrid model with a fixed price for a basic review and an hourly rate for complex deals.

Pricing model Description
Hourly basis Charged based on time spent reviewing.
Flat/fixed rates Predetermined fee regardless of time taken.
Tiered packages Different review levels and turnaround times.
On-demand pricing Per-page rate for reviewing the contract/deal.

Paying an hourly rate can be a suitable choice for contract reviews that aren’t as time-consuming. If legal matters take longer than expected, your final bill could be higher. That’s why choosing a flat fee brings predictability when budgeting legal expenses. No matter how complex the contract review gets, you end up paying the same.

Factors affecting contract review costs 

Contract complexity, attorney experience, and geographic market rates all factor into the cost of an attorney reviewing a contract. Understanding these variables in the anatomy of legal costs can help you strategically forecast legal expenses.

Complexity of the contract

Many legal professionals determine their fees based on the complexity of the work involved. Contracts that are heavy in legalese, span numerous pages, or involve intricate terms and conditions can quickly escalate the total cost. Structural complexity could relate to issues ranging from the contract’s subject matter, the use of dense terminologies, and the extent of negotiation required. In all, when it comes to an intricate contract, expect to pay more.

Lawyer’s experience and reputation

Without a doubt, the experience and reputation of your chosen attorney determines the cost. Lawyers with proven experience and stellar reputations command higher fees due to their ability to provide quality guidance. Sometimes a lawyer who charges a higher fee will work efficiently and thoroughly, leading you to better contract terms—and money saved by avoiding contractual pitfalls down the road. 

Geographic location and market rates 

Let’s not overlook the impact of geography on contract lawyer fees. Your lawyer’s location greatly influences the price point. For instance, attorneys located in expensive metropolitan areas or specific jurisdictions may charge more. Lawyers tend to charge rates that are competitive and comparable to those of their peers in the same location. An understanding of your local market can give you a clearer picture of what to expect in terms of costs.

Lawyer services for contract review

A standard contract typically contains some common elements – parties involved, contract terms, deliverable timeline, breach clauses, etc. But what exactly does the contract review process look like?

Step 1: Initial consultation and cost estimation. The first step involves a consultation and preliminary attorney contract review cost estimation. This initiates the relationship and establishes an understanding of the task’s scope.

Step 2: Detailed contract review. Next, your legal consultant engages in a review of your contract to catch potential disputes and legally ambiguous clauses, making sure it’s mutually beneficial and in compliance with regulations.

Step 3: The value of a detailed review. A thorough review contributes to contract longevity, saving you future time and costs associated with potential legal disputes, and is ultimately developed to protect your business interests.

Step 4: Feedback and revisions. Following the detailed review, your consultant will provide feedback, suggesting revisions or adjustments to accommodate negotiations and business objectives. You’ll likely bear additional costs.

Step 5: Final review and approval. Double-check that all revisions have been properly integrated. The consultant approves the contract for signing, taking final accountability for its legality and your business’s protection.

Considering legal service software

When a party decides to proceed without the input of a contract review to save a couple of bucks, they expose their interests to bleak uncertainties. Apart from the possibilities of breaching regulations, you can find yourself battling unexpected liabilities or unforeseen legal scenarios that could cost you far more in the long run.

It doesn’t have to be this way, though.

Earlier, businesses had only two options—hire a high-cost, specialized legal agency, or employ an in-house attorney. Today, technology simplifies legal work with AI-based legal service platforms that provide contract review services.

Reliability, precision, and peace of mind—these are some of the benefits that businesses get with Superlegal contract review. The product we’ve built helps identify potential legal pitfalls and strengthens the contract by suggesting tweaks to protect your interests. In doing so, you significantly reduce the chances of contract disputes.

When do you need a contract review?

You should get a contract reviewed whenever you’re presented with a new agreement. A review:

  • Mitigates any potential risks.
  • Makes sure the contract accurately reflects the agreement between both parties.
  • That the terms are fair and balanced.
  • The language is clear and unambiguous.
  • There are no missing key provisions.

It’s all about clarity, fairness, and legal compliance on the following:

Scenario Description
Employment contracts Terms of employment—salary, benefits, duties, and termination clauses.
Service level agreements (SLA) Terms for service/product, payment terms, and dispute resolution.
Vendor contracts Terms of supply, pricing, delivery, warranties, and liabilities.
Lease agreements Rental terms, responsibilities of parties, duration, and termination clauses.
Real estate transactions Terms of property sale, purchase, or lease conditions and contingencies.
Loan agreements Terms of loans—interest rates, repayment terms, collateral, and penalties.
Partnership agreements Terms of partnership, profit sharing, responsibilities, and exit plans.
Intellectual property Protecting ownership rights over trademarks, patents, and trade secrets.
Non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) Ensuring confidentiality of sensitive information shared between parties.
Investment contracts Terms of investment—contributions, returns, risks, and exit strategies.

How much does a contract lawyer cost? (+ Superlegal’s alternative)

Hiring a contract lawyer doesn’t come cheap. The average attorney contract review cost per hour in the U.S. ranges anywhere from $125 to over $500. Costs can depend largely on the lawyer’s experience, specialization, and location. 

Unnecessary legal expenses can also hurt a company’s profits and productivity. Integrating automation into your contractual processes can help you boost your business deal velocity.

For budget-friendly alternatives, modern professionals have moved toward AI contract review software like Superlegal to negotiate better contract terms and close more deals, while cutting legal costs by up to 90%.

Check Superlegal’s contract review checklist and try it for free. We’re the only AI platform licensed to practice law in the U.S.