WHAT IS "VALUE BILLING" FOR LEGAL FEES
We understand that lawyers are useless if no one can afford them. We get that retaining legal expertise can require resources that may be tight. We hear from our clients that fee predictability and assessment of legal fee value is important.
We focus on Value Billing, not endless billable hours which encourage inefficiency. The goal of Value Billing is to achieve an optimal result for every client, at an affordable price that is consistent with the amount of real effort required to achieve that result. We offer block fixed fees whenever possible to give clients budget predictability, and to permit them to weigh whether using a lawyer is worth it as compared to the personal importance of a matter. We welcome client enquiries about projected legal costs for any matter, and will discuss fees with you during or soon after your first without obligation contact with the firm.
We strive to take the mystery out of fees by publicly positing numbers and typical ranges of fees so as to provide value & transparent billing to all prospective clients. Harmonized Sales Tax is applicable to and in addition to most fees, and disbursements like copies, couriers, and expert witnesses are also extra.
Fees below are only samples; you should enquire for fee quotes on matters not listed and on your specific situation.
Note that Pierre Aubry's fees are different, and that he should be consulted directly on his fees at 613-535-1055.
WHAT ARE BLOCK LEGAL FEES
Block fees are flat and fixed in advance, and usually possible for most solicitor non-court matters like real estate, wills & estates, corporate-commercial files, immigration and even for some barrister court matters like criminal defence cases, administrative tribunal hearings, and appeals or judicial reviews. Ultimately block fees represent a conversion of predicted hourly time to be spent on a file, but offer the client fee certainty.
Block fees will usually include any travel costs, making it possible to compare our firm to local counsel regardless of where your legal matter arises. You may find our fees highly competitive because of our not being hampered by big city downtown overheads, so that more of your dollars go directly towards providing you with the legal services you need.
Consultation: $350 (conducted in person or by telephone/video conference), including document review and analysis for documents you provide prior to the meeting, case strategy development, and provision of concrete recommendations on how best to proceed. You will be able to ask your questions, and become an official client of the firm, but will not be obligated to pay any additional fees unless you explicitly request additional services.
Wills and Estates
- a. Couple's Wills, Powers of Attorney & Powers of Attorney for Personal Care Package: $750 and up (though most can be completed for $750 depending on complexity). Packages for individuals starting at $450.
- b. Estate administration: fees will depend on complexity and value of estate.
Criminal Defence: staged block fees are offered, with an initial resolution fee (including all court appearances, document analysis and negotiations), and later trial fee if required, plus an optional bail fee. Summary Conviction Offence resolution fees are typically under $5000. Indictable Offence resolution fees are often under $10,000, except for those cases involving more lengthy preliminary inquiries. Trial fees are typically $ 5,000 to $10,000 in addition to the resolution fee, except for very complex cases where extra days in court will cost from $2,200 to $3,000 per day depending on the assigned lawyer.
Appeals & Judicial Reviews (Federal Court & Ontario Courts): generally $10,000 to $30,000 (depending on the level of court, and complexity of the matter). For example, appealing a two week trial will be more complex and thus more expensive than appealing a one day trial, as will appealing to a three judge panel of the Court of Appeal for Ontario as compared to a one judge Summary Conviction Appeal court. Motions brought in the course of an appeal (such as to extend time for service and filing of a notice of appeal, or to file fresh evidence) typically range from $5,000 and up if not heard at the same time as the appeal.
- Spousal & Family Class Sponsorship: $5,500
- Canadian Citizenship Confirmation: $2,500
- Skilled Worker (Express Entry & Provincial Nominees): $5,000
- Application for Criminal Rehabilitation or Temporary Residence Permit: $4,500
- Immigration & Refugee Board Hearing Representation (Montreal or Toronto): $9,500
- Federal Court Application for Leave to Pursue Judicial Review for Immigration: $6,000 (additional fees apply if case proceeds to hearing after leave granted)
WHEN ARE HOURLY LEGAL FEES BETTER VALUE
Hourly fees may represent the best value over block fees for clients when the amount of work is unknown at the start of a case, like for business or family disputes which might be resolvable without litigation, or where a case may settle at one of many stages in a litigation process prior to trial. Just as with block fees, our hourly fees can be much more competitive than urban downtown lawyers because of our lower overhead whose savings we can pass onto clients, who still receive the benefit of all the firm's experience including the Managing Lawyer having practiced in many of Canada's major cities including on Bay Street.
When shopping for legal counsel you should focus on the overall value and related "extra" costs of legal services you're considering, rather than solely on whether one lawyer is $25 an hour (or even $100 an hour) cheaper than another lawyer. If that cheaper lawyer bills 50% more time for the same end work product, then there hasn't been any client value achieved in going with the lower hourly rate.
Managing Lawyer Gordon S. Campbell: $375/hour; Half Day Court Hearing $1500; Full Day Court Hearing $3000
Associate Lawyers Matthew Maclean & Karen Kernisant: $275/hour; Half Day Court Hearing $1100; Full Day Court Hearing $2200
Law Clerks: $95/hour
Articling Students: $90/hour
The reason we (and others) need to charge half and full day rates for court (except for Criminal & Small Claims cases) is that nothing else can be scheduled during those special times reserved for your hearing.
Typical hourly fee ranges for completion of a mandate on an hourly basis would include:
Family Law Separation Agreements: negotiation & drafting costs usually range between $2,500 and $5,000, depending on complexity and level of collaboration of the parties. Drafting and filing for divorce is an additional (but lesser) cost.
Family Law Motions/Applications (such as to change support, access, or move with a child): we find costs to completion of a contested hearing, including all document drafting, preparation for and appearances at case conferences, settlement conferences, and a contested hearing, typically range from $15,000 to $25,000, depending on complexity, number of court appearances prior to actual contested hearing, length of the hearing, and amount of negotiation that takes place to settle with opposing party prior to the hearing.
Family Law Trial Actions: because everything is often in issue (custody, support, division of property), family law trial actions tend to consume far more preparation time and incur far more court hearings (including a trial management conference) prior to final judgment than a family motion/application (which usually only deals with one issue based on a prior order), though ability of the parties to narrow issues can significantly reduce costs. We find such trials typically incur fees of $20,000 to 30,000 and up depending on degree of conflict, amount of issues, and volume of evidence, all of which will drive the number of trial days required. We do everything possible to reduce your total days in court, including trying to settle your case out of court, which can dramatically reduce your costs.
Small Claims: $5,000 (costs will be less if the case settles prior to trial, and greater if multiple days of trial are involved).
Superior Court Civil Litigation (including property & estate litigation): $10,000 & up (fees depend on complexity of case, number of documents, and number of witnesses, with lower fees being where a case does not proceed past initial documentary pleading and discovery phase, higher fees will be involved if a case makes it to oral discoveries, and fees will be higher still if a case gets to a full blown trial). Civil "actions" (with full discovery leading to a trial) will be much more time consuming and expensive to pursue or defend than civil "applications" which focus on a documentary affidavit record.
Tax Court of Canada Appeals: $10,000 & up (although theses are called "appeals" their procedure is similar to a multi-stage superior court action with documentary and oral discoveries leading to a live witness contested trial). Lower fees means a case might not proceed past the Notice of Appeal and documentary discovery phase, higher fees will be involved if a case makes it to oral discoveries, and fee will be higher still if case get to a full blow trial/appeal hearing.
HOW WE AVOID CLIENT BILLING SURPRISES & REDUCE COSTS
We use written retainer agreements or engagement letters to avoid any later misunderstandings between lawyer and client concerning the work to be undertaken for the quoted fees. We regularly keep in touch with clients about the status of legal fee accounts so that no one receives an unanticipated significant statement of account. We pride ourselves on fee transparency.
We minimize or eliminate travel costs by adopting leading legal information communication technology and staying in constant contact with clients. We make the travel that does happen as efficient as possible due to our familiarity with the legal landscape throughout Ontario and Canada since we've worked in every province and territory except for the Yukon. We minimize out of pocket disbursement expenses for clients to the greatest degree possible, and only charge back to clients what disbursements are directly costing the firm without any markup.