MEMO AND CLIENT RELATIONSHIP - 2016
This memo will explain how legal fees are charged by me. There are several criteria for deciding on legal fees which include the complexity and critical advice on the matter, and the time spent on resolving the legal issues. Law Society does not regulate hourly rate or fixed rates for specific procedures. The hourly rate of the lawyer is based on his years of experience and his clientele.
I have practiced over 40 years in Richmond Hill, and am called to the bar in three jurisdictions and have 24 years of judicial experience. It is important to discuss the fees beforehand to avoid conflict and lose lawyer client relationship.
Website and areas of law
My website at gives indication of areas of law that I deal with. I encourage you to see it. I deal with a large number of specialized areas of law and work with independence lawyers to match the resources and skill of downtown Toronto lawyers. Each file is usually dealt with by a lawyer who will take responsibility for the carriage of the matter and I consult with that lawyer who is on record. I encourage regular meetings with the lawyer and myself to ensure that my experience is utilized to find solution to the legal issue keeping the highest standards of ethics and client’s interests in mind.
My client base which started with Richmond Hill has now expanded to clients from different countries with the help of technology including skype and emails. I support over 100 companies and many individuals and executives in those companies in personal matters. I am dealing with significant size litigation issues as a consultant to other lawyers.
My current hourly rate is $ 450 an hour but I do not clock all hours. The long term client relationship and accommodating individual client needs and ability are important to me keeping in mind that I must still earn income to meet my financial obligations. Most fees are based on an hourly rate. This is the only inventory a lawyer carries. In most cases I am asking other junior lawyers or paralegals to work a lower hourly rate. Legal work requires custom solutions and is difficult to standardize the procedures or solutions or hourly rate to find solutions to legal problems.
Disbursements and HST
Harmonized Sales Tax and disbursements, are payable in addition to the cost of fees and will be shown in our invoices as separate amounts. HST is payable by the client in addition to fees as we are required to pay the collected amount to the government.
Clients Meetings and Relationship
All lawyers do not deal with clients in the same manner. The fees for the lawyer are important as the resolution of the client is important to the client. The subject of fees should be discussed openly and an amicable arrangements can be made for payment. Most clients, including small companies do not budget for legal fees and when a legal problem arises there is a cash crunch. Long term relationship with the lawyer and developing a budgeting arrangement is helpful to deal with legal issues.
I charge modest fees for the first meeting. Where another lawyer is appointed to carry out the proceedings the primary contact of the client will be with that lawyer with periodic three way meetings with client along with the lawyer. It brings matters up to date and helps focus on the best course of action to be taken to resolve the issues. We will create an agenda for the meeting and a follow up on decisions made in the meeting.
Retainers are deposits of cash in trust for the lawyer to engage his services. Retainers also refer to the agreement or understanding on what the lawyer will do to advise and assist the client. Defining what is to be done is critical in legal matters as the litigation or other matter being dealt with can change as the events unfold.
Payment of fees
Payment of fees promptly is important to maintain lawyer client relationship. This relationship plays a significant role in getting the loyalty and dedication of the lawyer in solving client’s problem. Where there is constant bickering on fees and lack of appreciation of lawyers’ work it is not possible to show the sense of dedication required to solve legal problems effectively.
Relationship of Trust
Lawyer client relationship is that of trust which develops from name and reputation of the lawyer and ability to solve problems. Where this relationship breaks down it is still important to terminate the relationship with dignity and without creating a conflict. I will assist in the transition to another lawyer where needed. It is important to carry out this transition amicably to protect the client’s interest.
I ask my clients to keep a complete file of their own both in electronic form and printed documents. If you find another lawyer you should use your own documents to brief another lawyer. If printed copies are needed the cost of each page will be 30 cents per page. If time is required to assemble documents the time will be billed at a paralegal hourly rate.
Payment of fees
Payment can be made in a variety of ways. Fees paid in trust will be transferred to our general account when the bill is rendered. If there are not funds in trust fees must be paid promptly and not later than 30 days after which interest of 12% per annum will b e charged. If you wish to pay by installments, please discuss the matter. If the client wishes to pay by any other method it should be discussed.
Where court appearances are required fees must be paid in advance to cover the cost of the hearing. In litigation matters it is the judge who decides the matter and lawyer does his best to obtain results but cannot take responsibility for the decisions of the court. It is the diligence, knowledge, advice and experience that the client is paying for.
I will use paralegal support and junior lawyer support whenever possible. This redcues your cost of the legal fees.
At the first meeting we need your identification and communication details. My meetings with clients are set up only between 4 and 7 p.m. during week days. Meetings and agenda of the meeting should be planned in advance. Telephone and skype meetings can save time to arrange meetings but they cost the time and are not as effective as personal meetings. If I have given my personal mobile telephone number of home number I appreciate your using it judiciously.
Emails are best way to communicate but do not expect me to see them as soon as you have sent it. With a very large volume of clients and work and consulting practice I am not able to see emails immediately. Where there is an urgent email please call my staff to print the email so I can deal with it and give it a priority.