What you will gain from us is the many layers of experience that can be brought to bear in
the assessment of your case and the advice and assistance we offer you. Whether it is drafting your will, navigating through a difficult family law situation, personal-injury matter, or dealing with an existing or contemplated lawsuit, that’s important to your peace of mind and financial welfare.
Our logo is a heart like a shield. We care for you and your case. That is not sentimentality: That’s a genuine allegiance to our duty to forward your case, while at the same time respecting the limits of your resources and those around you. We have lasted as long as we have and have the reputation we do because of our exceptional service to our clients. It begins with, and always in the end comes back to, the soundness of our advice. Advice you can count on.
Although we do not charge for a brief phone call to discuss your situation, a proper evaluation of your case usually requires a face to face meeting with one of our lawyers. For matters that contemplate legal representation over a period of time, we generally do not charge for an initial consultation at our office.
However, if the consultation is to obtain a legal opinion or a lawyer’s services at a single meeting, or a review of your situation requires an hour or more than any charges will be based on the time spent with you and will depend on the individual lawyer’s hourly rate for legal fees.
Depending on the case, we may be able to offer a contingency fee payment arrangement (see below) whereby you only pay us a percentage of what we are able to collect you. Feel free to ask about any fees for an initial consultation before making an appointment.
We will tell you in advance whether there will be a consultation charge or not.
In most litigation cases we will enter into a formal written retainer agreement with you. It is a formal contract between the lawyer and the client. That comes at the end of the initial consultation process. The written retainer will identify the lawyer and sometimes other staff members who will be assigned to your case and their billing rates and it will contain the details of payment arrangements, the scope of work to be done and the other issues related to the lawyer client relationship. Another document we usually provide to every client is titled Solicitor Client Rights and Obligations which has general information about the lawyer client relationship.
We generally do not require a formal retainer for drafting wills and powers of attorney, doing simple transactional work, and providing straightforward legal opinions and advice.
Our fees are generally based on the complexity of the case and the time spent. Depending on what type of case you have, fees are calculated either on an hourly rate, a fixed amount, or on a contingency basis (see below). We also take certain Legal Aid funded family law matters.
It is important to consult with one of our lawyers to discuss what fee arrangement would apply to your situation. We pride ourselves on creating flexible, practical and affordable payment arrangements that take into account your means and needs as well as our own. Typically, a written retainer agreement will set out what our fees will be along with payment arrangements. In some cases these may be modified if your situation or the case changes.
Regardless, you will receive quality service for fees paid. You will be represented by competent and skilled legal professionals working with well trained staff, modern equipment and office facilities at our downtown location. We are committed to advancing your legal interests by giving our personal attention to your case and working hard to get you the best result possible.
Our hourly rates reflect the degree of skill, knowledge, and experience of our lawyers and the high overhead costs that professional firms such as ourselves must bear in order to provide the quality of services we offer.
We will provide an estimate of what our legal fees and disbursements (see below) will be at the beginning of our retainer and make every attempt to provider services in the most economic fashion possible. Some of the factors that affect legal fees include your level of cooperation and willingness to accept our advice, the conduct of the other lawyer or party, the number of witnesses and parties, the volume of evidence to be collected and evaluated, and the scope and complexity of the legal issues involved.
As we progress through the case and certain milestones are reached we will report back to you with our observations and this may include an update on our fee estimate. Normally, estimates get us to the point where we believe the matter will be resolved without having to go to trial.
Contingency Fees – No recovery, No Fee
Another method of payment of legal fees is by contingency fee agreement. This arrangement involves the payment of legal fees based on a percentage of an amount obtained as a settlement or judgment. This means if we do not win any financial recovery for your claim, you will not have to pay any legal fees – only our disbursements (see below) will need to be covered. The percentage may vary from claim to claim depending on the complexity of the matter, the amount at stake, and the prospect of success. Contingency fee arrangements are often made for personal injury matters, and occasionally for other ones.
There are usually expenses incurred by lawyers and the law firm in pursuing a case. They can include items such as court filing fees, photocopying, fax, courier, postage, binding documents, long distance calls, expert reports, mediator fees, and paying for examinations for discovery, among others. These out of pocket expenses are called disbursements. They are billed to the client, even in contingency fee arrangements, although in some personal injury matters we carry the cost of these items until a settlement occurs or judgment is given.
Referral Fees to Other Lawyers
Our lawyers are well respected in the Ottawa legal community. We are often referred clients from other lawyers who cannot represent someone because of a conflict of interest, workload issues, or because they may not practice in a particular area of law. With the client’s permission, we sometimes offer a modest referral fee to a referring lawyer. This does not add to the overall size of the legal bill. It comes out of the legal fees for work actually done.