The quoted rates assume standardized services—they can therefore change. In most matters, it is impossible to predict how much time and attention we will have to give a matter. We do not guarantee any maximum fee. Generally, our fees are based on our experience and skill and time expended, although some situations may involve other factors. No one lawyer will be responsible for your file. For most matters, you will be asked to sign a retainer agreement that will set out the rates charged. Otherwise, you will be provided with a letter or form to that effect. Those rates are subject to change.
On some matters, we can quote a fee for standardized services, such as drafting routine wills and real estate documentation, or setting up a simple corporation. In some cases, our fees are fixed by legislation–such as with some estate matters–or a court of law–such as with some infant related matters. In most matters–for example, a court action–it is impossible for us to predict how much time and attention we will have to give the matter. There can be many uncertainties and, because of this, we find it more sensible and fair to avoid quoting a specific fee in advance. In criminal court matters, no portion of your fees are recoverable, even if you are found not guilty. In civil court actions, if your are the successful party, the court may award costs, but you will rarely ever recover all of your legal fees. "Costs" and "fees" have quite different meanings. Unfortunately, if you lose, you may be ordered to pay costs to your opponent, in addition to all of your own fees. Part of our job is to ensure that you understand this additional risk in any litigation.
Our office follows the same practice as many good law firms do in requesting a reasonable retainer fee. This retainer fee is in the nature of a deposit for the time we will spend on your behalf. We may also request a deposit for costs and expenses at the time we agree to proceed with your matter. We will apply money held on deposit for our fees and disbursements. Since most of our clients prefer to handle their business and legal matters on a pay-as-you-go basis, you will be billed on a regular basis for our professional services and expenditures. Any bill not paid upon receipt of same will be subject to interest at the rate of 2% per month, compounded monthly (26.8% per annum) from the date of receipt.
Our staff will keep records of the time spent and services performed on your matters. Your bill will outline the nature of the services rendered, the fee considered reasonable and expenditures made on your behalf. In most instances, G.S.T. and/or P.S.T. must be charged on such fees and expenditures. Our clients are encouraged to fully discuss our fee arrangements or the detail of a particular bill. You may apply to the Court of Queen's Bench to tax any of our bills. Except in special circumstances, that application must be made within 30 days after the day you received the bill.