- Kerry Allenby
Lawyer Fees- "I owe you how much?"
Legal fees can be confusing. A lawyer’s invoice will be a combination of fees (the part you pay the lawyer), Disbursements (out of pocket expenses incurred by the law firm) and GST.
Depending on the service being rendered a lawyer may charge you on a flat fee basis or on an hourly billing basis.
Flat fee services give a client a more concrete idea of what their total fees will be and are typically used in transactions such as Wills and Real Estate. Flat fee billing works well in these situations because the lawyer can predict from the start when the file will come to an end and how much work will be involved.
Hourly billing is typically used in family law, litigation, and criminal law files as these files tend to have less certainty at the beginning about how much work the client will need overall from the lawyer.
Before you hire a lawyer make sure you ask if the service will be on a flat fee basis or hourly billing. If hourly, make sure you know how much per hour your lawyer will charge. Be organized and keep your communications straight to the point. If you bring your lawyer a jumble of papers to sort out or have a long-winded telephone conversation your lawyer will charge you for all of that time. In the end your lawyer with thank you and your wallet will thank you.