Though there isn’t one answer about it, if you are looking to retain a lawyer in Toronto, it helps to have an idea about how they charge. Though most lawyers aren’t upfront about discussing the fee, you need to have an idea before you schedule an appointment. Basically there are three types of payments that lawyers charge and here is more information about it.
Flat fee: The lawyers that deal with incorporations, wills and estate issues, real estate usually charge a flat fee and offer a break-down of the services including out of pocket expenses, which are added to the bill.
Hourly fee: This is usually done by family lawyers and they have a retainer fee that has to be paid in advance. The fees are paid on the work put in by the lawyer and are not based on the type of case or the outcome. The legal recourse cannot be anticipated or guessed and that is why you cannot expect them to give you a quote. From $3000 to $10,000 as upfront retainer fee, they will only start with the case when it is paid. Hourly fee varies as well, depending upon the size and experience of the legal firm.
Contingency fee: This fee is usually accepted by personal injury lawyers for those who cannot afford legal assistance. These are based on recovery which means that if you receive compensation you pay a part of it. That is why most people prefer this over upfront retainer fees. As a personal injury lawsuit is about long term negotiations for getting the right compensation. When the injury lawyer in Waterloo or Toronto takes your case, he is of the view that they will be paid as your case will win the compensation that you deserve. However, in a rare instance that the lawyer is unable to negotiate a settlement, you still need to pay the lawyer for the out-of-pocket expenses. And if the case is settled in your favor, apart from paying the lawyer the share mutually decided upon, you need to pay for the out of pocket expenses which are over the percentage of fees.And in Ontario, there is 13% Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) which is added to the lawyer’s fee. This is irrespective of the services rendered and is a compulsory fee. Thus, when you are calculating fees, don’t forget to add it.
Most lawyers don’t discuss fee right from the start as the legal profession is traditional and they don’t advertise it either. They usually have non-negotiable fees so you can ask questions and get your queries clarified, but don’t try to negotiate the fee. And it is important for the lawyer that you hire to work with you, not a group of interns. Thus, ensure that you select the right lawyer. You might have to look at the qualifications, experience and successful cases that they have resolved before you hire the legal service.