How much is it going to cost? Just about everybody needing legal services is worried about the cost.
At Anderson Adams, we understand that worry. And we do have some set fee services.
A simple will for one person. Or for two spouses. With or without powers of attorney for personal care or for property.
Notarizing a document.
Basic fees for a residential real estate transaction. Or for a mortgage that’s included with the purchase.
Standard fees for specific elements of estate administration matters, such as a survivorship application (when a jointly-held house rolls to the surviving spouse).
Our standard fees don’t include HST. They don’t include disbursements. They don’t include title insurance or applicable land transfer tax on real estate transactions.
But when we get a call requesting one of these standard services, we can generally predict pretty closely what our fee will need to be once you’ve told us what your circumstances are. So: just ask.
What about litigation matters? Legal fees in these matters are based upon the lawyer’s hourly rates. The total fees in a standard retainer, quite frankly, can be much harder to predict. Litigation matters are adversarial. To a considerable extent, litigation legal fees are outside the control of you as our client, and outside our control too. That’s because we cannot control how adversarial the other side will be. Although we can and we do explore every opportunity for timely settlement and for alternate dispute resolution through mediation or arbitration or (in family law) collaborative practice.
However, one method we can offer to help control litigation costs is the “limited scope retainer”. In essence, you contract for our services in bite-size chunks. You want a preliminary legal opinion as to the strength of your case, based upon analysis of the facts and necessary legal research? You need someone to draft a statement of claim? Or a statement of defence, within the applicable time lines? You’d like a lawyer to attend with you at mediation? Or at a case conference? We can tailor a limited scope retainer to the specific legal task that you would like us to perform.
In a limited scope retainer, we’re retained to carry out just that specified task. A limited scope retainer is typically completed over a short period of time. It’s not ongoing representation from start to finish, and it’s not coaching. We won’t be “on the record” in a court proceeding: all of the communications from the opposing party (or counsel, if they’ve retained a lawyer) will come to you. You’ll still be responsible for making sure you’ve complied with the rules for service of documents in a timely way: all of that.
It’s only fairly recently that the Law Society of Upper Canada (which governs lawyers in Ontario) has embraced limited scope retainers in the Rules of Professional Responsibility. Limited scope retainers are more suitable in some situations than in others. We will not always be able to agree to be retained on a limited scope basis. But in many situations a limited scope retainer can help you obtain the legal services you need most urgently while still keeping a close eye on your legal costs.
If a limited scope retainer sounds like something that would work for you, please ask about it when you set your consultation appointment.
For some of our clients, limited scope retainers are an “access to justice” issue. At Anderson Adams we’re always happy to discuss limited scope retainers. Whenever we can, we want to provide the legal services you need when you need them in a manner which feels financially manageable to you.
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Anderson Adams is always pleased to note the high readership of the blogs on our website and we hope that you have found this blog interesting. If you have a particular legal problem, then you deserve legal advice and a legal opinion specifically related to your particular circumstances. Please make an appointment with a legal professional in your jurisdiction. If Anderson Adams can help you, we invite you to contact our firm by telephone, 705 436-1701, and book an appointment. One of our clerks will take down a detailed note over the phone so that we can be ready to address your concerns when we meet with you.