We will call our invoices “an Account for Legal Services”. Typically there are three components; legal fee, disbursements and taxes. Each is discussed in more detail below.
Our accounts are due and payable when prepared. If our office holds funds in trust at the time an account is rendered, those funds will be used to pay the account.
For many routine tasks (e.g. a standard will, a standard residential property transaction, a simple incorporation) we are able to quote a fixed fee in advance of doing the work. In those cases, and absent special considerations, that is the fee that will be shown on the account.
For work that is not considered a routine task, we generally can not quote a fixed fee in advance.
Our policy in these cases is to price our services either at the end of a given project, or at intervals during the course of the project.
When you retain us to do legal work it means you are agreeing to pay the legal fee we determine, even though you will not be aware of the amount until you receive our account. Obviously you would not be expected to pay an amount that is clearly unreasonable. Aside from this exception, you agree to pay our accounts as rendered and when rendered.
When we determine our fee, we consider a number of factors. It is a subjective valuation and not a scientific one.
We consider things like the complexity of the work, the overall value of the project, the results obtained, and the risks we face. In addition we also consider the time expended on a project by lawyer and staff.
An estimate of lawyer’s time and staff time will be used as a basis for establishing a fee. Frequently, but not always, the estimated lawyer’s time and staff time will be shown on the account. This time estimate however is not conclusive, and is but one factor in determining the fee.
When we speak of time estimates, the word “estimate” is used deliberately. We neither claim nor attempt precision. In a rough fashion, we will estimate the time that the lawyer has spent working on the file and the time staff have spent working on the file. Sometimes these estimates are made at the time of the account relating to work that was done previously. Times are estimated in either tenths of hours, or multiples of 5 minutes, and in either case actual times, if available, are rounded upward to the closest interval.
For the year commencing January 2013, the hourly rate applied to a lawyer’s time is $330.00 and the hourly rate applied to a staff person’s time is $90.
With adequate notice to you, this is subject to change. It bears repeating however, that time estimates and hourly rates are not the only factors used to set our fee.
These are charges for goods or services, supplied by others, to us, on your behalf. They also include internal chargebacks for items such as photocopying, faxes, mileage, deliveries, etc.
In the case of things supplied by others, we pass on these costs to you, without mark-up. In the case of internal chargebacks, we usually have standard and competitive pricing established to recover our direct expense.
All legal fees and some disbursements are subject to HST at 13%. This will appear on our accounts and be your responsibility.
Questions and Concerns:
If you have any questions or concerns about this Policy, please speak directly to Michael Hennessy. This business exists to serve clients like you. We strive to provide legal services that satisfy client’s needs, at fair and competitive prices.
If we are not meeting your expectations, in any regard, let us know and we will work to put things right.
Thank you for your patronage.