Sample Fees Structure Memorandum
PAFRT I - FEES
a). Basis for calculating your legal fees
Our fees are based on the following elements:
1. the time spent on your behalf and the service which is performed
2. our experience and abilities
3. the complexities of the matter and your potential monetary exposure
4. the degree and type of resistance encountered
5. the extent to which any work needs to be performed on an emergency basis
6. special circumstances, such as the loss of other retainers, postponement of
7. payment, or uncertainty of reward (if applicable), and
8. the results accomplished
None of these elements is capable of a precise arithmetic assessment and no such assessment is attempted, except in a general way, with respect to the time spent. A standard hourly rate, as set out below, is applied to convert the time into a monetary figure. Amounts that exceed or are less than the number of hours multiplied by the standard rates is the result of the weighing of the other elements mentioned.
b). Our hourly rates
Standard hourly rates are charged for the work performed by the [lawyers/paralegals] and our law clerks and for the time spent on your case. Records are kept (in our time-keeping system) by us to the nearest one tenth of an hour for all activity on your case, including conferences, telephone calls, voicemail, e-mail, preparing correspondence and memoranda, drafting documents, research and travel time. Each hour billed to you is based on actual work completed on your particular case.
Our absence from the office on your behalf is charged at the usual hourly rate. Travel time includes attending at court, settlement conferences, meetings, or consultations on your behalf.
We will minimize travel expenses and courthouse time, if any, wherever we are able. Charges for travel time are in addition to the counsel fee/legal representation fee.
c). These are our present hourly rates:
[Lawyer/Paralegal] #1 $ 320 per hour
Where the [lawyers/paralegals] consult on your file, you are billed for the time of the [lawyers/paralegals] involved. Consultation between [lawyers/paralegals] takes place to decide work assignments on larger matters, to delegate tasks, to determine strategy and to consult on legal issues.
d). Court, tribunal appearance charged as [counsel fees/legal representation fees]
If there is a court case in your file, services performed in court and settlement conferences are charged on the basis of a [counsel fees/legal representation fees], calculated by the day rather than by the hour. This method attempts to account, in part, for our unavailability to other clients during these periods, and for the need to set aside fixed periods of time for a court appearance. Where the attendance is for part of a day only, the fee is apportioned accordingly.
e) These are our present counsel fees/legal representation fees:
[Lawyer/Paralegal] #1 $ __1000 / day
$ ___500_____ half day
f) Consultations charged at flat rates
If your appointment is for a consultation only, in order for you to receive advice on a limited number of issues, or, for example, for a second opinion, you will be billed a flat rate consultation fee payable on the conclusion of the consultation.
These rates are reduced rates and apply only if the fee is paid at the time of the consultation. The rates are calculated on the basis of the average amount of time spent by the [lawyers/paralegals] on consultations in the most recent year.
The consultation rates do not apply if you retain the firm to perform work on your behalf, nor do they apply if you return for a second meeting. In that case, you will be billed at our usual hourly rates.
g). These are our usual consultation rates:
[Lawyer/Paralegal] #1 $ __320______ per hour
h). Block fees:
Some matters will be invoiced on a block fee basis. While this option is not open for all matters, whenever it is open, block fees insure cost savings for our client as it significantly cuts down on time spent on preparation of invoices. Amount of block fees is closely approximated to the amounts that are billed on an hourly basis for the same time of work performed. Amounts charged in block fees will never be higher than hourly basis amounts for the same work performed.
i). Annual increase in fees
We have sometimes increased our hourly rates and our [counsel fees/legal representation fees], to meet rising costs and to reflect our increased expertise. This retainer is subject to our right to make similar adjustments if circumstances should change again. Unless you are advised otherwise, our fees will be increased annually by no more than ___5_____ %.
PART II - EXPERTS
In some instances it may be necessary for us to consult outside experts to assist in your case.If experts are required, we generally have our clients deal directly with the expert and make payment arrangements with the expert personally.
This direct contact also has the benefit of avoiding duplication and reducing cost.
PART III - DISBURSEMENTS
a). Charges for our out of pocket expenses
Disbursements are out-of-pocket expenses and are as follows:
· couriers, printing, photocopying, or scanning of paper documents at $ 0.25 per page
· long distance telephone calls
· facsimile transmissions at $ 0.25 per page to send, $0.25 per page to receive
· court filing fees
· transcripts of examinations
· fees for accountants and other outside experts if incurred
PART III - COST OF LEGAL SERVICES
a). Estimating the cost of legal services
Clients usually want to know “what will this all cost?” That's a reasonable question. But it is not possible to accurately estimate costs in advance in some cases. Many important factors which influence the cost are unknown to us, and even outside our control, including the reaction and tactics of the other side, how many different issues there will be in your case, how much time it will take to resolve all the issues, how complicated the case is, new issues which may come up, and whether we can settle this case without going to court.
In some cases, the legal issues change during the time we work for you. New issues may arise and existing issues may become more complex. We see it as our job to close your file as quickly and economically as possible, consistent with protecting your interests.
Despite these difficulties at predicting the amount of legal fees your matter may involve, we will attempt to give an estimate of the cost of legal services based on certain assumptions. You will be receiving a personalized estimate under a separate covering letter. However, understand that when the assumptions change, when new developments arise, the cost estimate may no longer be valid. We will remind you of this from time to time and attempt to correct our estimates as the case unfolds.
b). Accounts sent by e-mail
We send accounts by e-mail, if that is possible. If we cannot send your accounts to you this way, please let us know.
c). Payment methods
We accept payment of fees and disbursements via Interac or cash, and you may consider that as an alternative in settling your outstanding accounts with us, or in providing or replacing the retainer.
PAFRT IV - INTEREST
The accounts are due to be paid when they are sent. If the account is not paid within 30 days, interest will be charged on the outstanding balance at the rate permitted in the Solicitors Act and shown on the account, from the date of the account until the date of payment).
PART V - COSTS FOR DUPLICATING MATERIAL ALREADY PROVIDED
We will keep you informed of all developments in your case. We will forward, were applicable, to you electronic or paper copies of all relevant correspondence, pleadings, other court documents, and reports. It is important to keep this material and it is to your advantage to maintain it in an organized format. If you require additional paper or electronic copies of correspondence or pleadings, we can make them available to you at our usual rates for printing, photocopying, or scanning. We suggest you keep the correspondence in one file and the pleadings and other court documents in another file and all of the documents in chronological order.
PART VI - ENDING OUR WORK FOR YOU
a). You can terminate our services at any time
At any time, you may terminate our services by giving us written notice and paying any balance owing. If the firm is shown on court documents as your legal representative, then court records must be formally changed, in writing. Usually we can file a document that you sign, telling the court and the other side that we are not your [lawyers/paralegals] any longer.
b). We can terminate our services in certain circumstances
Subject always to our obligation to ensure proper standards of professional conduct, we can also end the [solicitor-client/paralegal-client] relationship. If this should happen, we will do so in writing and we will assist in the transfer of your file, if appropriate.
You should be aware of some of the circumstances that may cause us to end the retainer:
a. we cannot get instructions from you
b. you lose confidence in our ability or advice
c. a conflict of interest arises
d. we cannot accept your instructions for ethical reasons
e. you mislead us in a material matter or you lie to us
f. the money retainer has not been provided or replaced
g. our accounts remain unpaid for 30 days and no mutually agreeable arrangements have been made
If it is necessary for us to take legal steps either to end our representation of you or to collect our accounts, you will be charged for the time involved.
END OF THE MEMORANDUM