Major credit and debit cards accepted. Interac accepted. If you pay by cheque we wait ten days before starting work.
Mini-consultations of up to 20 minutes are free. Paid consult fee is $310 plus HST= $350, covers up to one hour. If you then hire us this is a credit toward your account (We do not charge for the first $350 worth of work so it is like a free consultation.) If you don't hire us we keep the $350. EAP or LAW ASSIST member clients: If you are on the Employee Assistance Plan (through your workplace) or Law Assist, consultations are free for the first 30 minutes.
FAMILY LAW FEES
See the Family Law page of this web site for more details.
IMMIGRATION LAW FLAT FEES
These wll be provided at end of consultation after we decide what is required.
Due to the lawyer's decades of Experience We charge accordingly, so our fees are not the cheapest but they are competitive and not the most expensive. Our fees are about the same as the average Experienced Toronto family lawyer fees. As with nearly all law firms, fees exclude disbursements which are necessary expenses incurred on your behalf. Examples are photocopies, faxes, translations, court fees, process server fees. You must reimburse us for those expenditures. For work done that a legal secretary could do, (even if done by lawyer or paralegal when secretary unavailable) the rate is $40 per hour. Paralegal work $150. We take one or two Legal Aid family law cases per year, especially if there is a big custody fight. (no Legal Aid for immigration law.)
HOURLY RATES, FLAT FEES, DISCOUNTS etc. for Legal Services:
Nearly all immigration law cases are on a flat or fixed fee basis. Some family law matters are fixed fee, e.g. simple, uncontested divorce, simple Separation Agreement. Most family law matters (divorce, separation, court) are on an hourly rate. Some family law clients are on a discount plan called "EAP" due to an arrangement beween their employers and Law Assist. This is great for them but what about people who work for smaller companies that do not have this arrangement?. And what about the self-employed? So to make things fair we offer a similar deal if you bring us your (and your spouse's if any) last two year's Canada Revenue "Notice of Assessment" and it shows a combined family income on line 150 of less than $80,000. The discount is 25% off regular hourly rate.
Discount plans: Many clients are on employer discount plans so check with your Personnel (Human Resources) office to see if there is any "EAP" or "Law Assist" program at your workplace. Your union may have some sort of deal in place, or you may be entitled to a discount from your insurance company or credit card. As noted above, we are prepared to offer the same discount to people who are not on an EAP if they can prove their line 15000 income from their Notice of Assessment (for both wage earners if two in a family) is less than $80,000 combined for each of the last two years.
Other deep discount plans: We do not accept Legal Aid for family matters but do take a small number of JusticeNet.ca clients.
FOR MORE EXPLANATION ON HOW LAWYERS BILL AND "WHAT IS A RETAINER" SEE BELOW.
What is a Retainer for legal services?
A retainer is a deposit (pre-payment) toward your account, a retainer is not a quote or estimate of the total bill at the end of the case. A retainer is deposited into a Trust account, which is strictly regulated by the Law Society or the Bar Association or the Courts, whoever controls lawyers in your jurisdiction. (In Ontario it is the Law Society.) Your lawyer bills you at the end of each month (unless he/she did no work on your case) and takes what you owe from the Trust account. When the Trust Account balance gets below a certain amount e.g. $1000 he/she will usually want you to replenish it ("top it up") unless it appears the case will soon end and cost less than what is left in the account. Obviously if a lot of work was done one month there may not be enough money in Trust to cover the lawyer's fees so you would need to pay what is outstanding AND "top up" the Trust account. This can be difficult if you are not expecting it. If the case ends and you still have a credit in trust it will be promptly refunded (if you can show that your refund was due and not paid, the Law Society, Bar or Courts will go after any lawyer who tried to keep your money), but usually you will need to replenish the trust account whenever the lawyer asks and/or the Retainer Agreement requires.
What is a Retainer Agreement?
It is simply a contract between you and the lawyer about what service will be provided at what costs. It may focus on actions such as review a document and give advice, prepare and file an application or brief, prepare and file an appeal, attend at court to argue a case, but usually it is an agreement that you will pay the lawyer for his/her time and effort and expertise in doing whatever he/she thinks is necessary regarding the legal issue you hired the lawyer for; with no promise or outcomes or guarantee of results. It will rarely talk about winning the case, application or procedure. Unlike a contract with a mechanic you are paying for the effort and not a successful result. e.g. when you pay a mechanic to install new brakes you expect them to work; for a new starter in your car you expect it to work (unless the car won't start because of the engine or fuel or battery, rather than the starter motor, but then you would have to pay the mechanic to diagnose and repair that extra problem.) Sometimes a retainer agreement (or a side agreement) may provide for a bonus if a really good result is obtained for you. It may be on a contingency basis wherein you do not pay until the other side pays a settlement or award and then the lawyer deducts his/her fee (e.g. 25% to 40%) and expenses before you get the rest. That sort of Retainer Agreement is standard in personal injury law firms. Such contingency fees are now allowed in Ontario for family cases but rarely done. The more detailed the Agreement is, the less chance there is for future misunderstandings and arguments, so read every word before signing.