Jaques Law Office

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Reasonable

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Professional Legal Services Relating to

Real Estate, Wills and Estates, and Small Business


Civil Law Fees


Disclaimer

The following is no substitute for advice provided by a lawyer specifically for you. It is intended only to help you understand that advice. No responsibility is taken for any problems arising except due to paid legal advice.

©1996 Jaques Law Office. All Rights Reserved.



Fees for Civil law generally follow the Standard Terms, as set out below. That applies also to farm law and 'other' law.

There are many types of agreements and documents. For some, we have established rates. A common document, which requires little customization will generally cost $250.00, which will be somewhat less than our usual hourly rates. A contract governing continuing obligations will be at least $500.00, even if that exceeds the normal hourly rate. Many factors apply.

We generally ask you to put down a deposit, which we call a 'retainer payment' as security for fees. It would rarely be less than $500.00 and does not represent an estimate of what the fees will be.

A court action will be charged on an hourly basis. You should expect, if it goes all the way to trial, a Small Claims Action to seven hours, with a norm of about ten hours. Most Small Claims Actions go all the way to trial. A Superior Court action will be required if the amount at issue is more than $20,000.00 or the subject is not within the jurisdiction of the Small Claims Court. If it goes all the way to trial, a Superior Court action will likely exceed 35 hours, with a norm of about 75 hours. Of course, in either case there is no upper limit, it just depends on the amount of time consumed. However, in Superior Court, fewer than 5% actually reach trial. The huge majority are settled along the way.

But note that since 2005, we focus on Real Estate, Wills and Estates, and Small Business. We will not normally take on a court action. If the matter is critical and incidental to a file in those areas and if the client is highly valued and if we judge we can do a proper job, then we would consider handling a court action.

Standard Terms

Our normal fees are based on an hourly rate, as follows. Out of pocket costs (disbursements) are always additional, and always charged at actual cost. Sales and services taxes will be applied as required by law. However, we can, since we are acting as your agent, take advantage of certain exemptions.

Service by: Since: Hourly Rate
Paralegals 1988 45.00
Kevin Jaques, B.A., LL.B. 1985 (call to bar) 90.00
Kevin Jaques, B.A., LL.B. 1999 120.00
Kevin Jaques, B.A., LL.B. 2004 150.00
Kevin Jaques, B.A., J.D. 2011 300.00

When comparing hourly rates, the minimum increment is significant. Bookkeeping systems vary in their ability to track small amounts of time. Generally there are minimum increments, how much is charged for a task that doesn't take much time. Our minimum increment was 0.1 of an hour (6 minutes) until 2011, when the lawyer's minimum increment became 0.05 of an hour (3 minutes). Actually, the lawyer's rate is $150.00 per half hour, and so the minimum increment is actually 0.1 of that (3 minutes).

Initial consultations are free. These are expected to take just long enough for the lawyer to understand the problem, and explain the applicable fees, and provide an initial impression of the chances of success. This should normally be no longer than 20 minutes. Consultations beyond this scope will be charged at our regular hourly rates.

Generally we do not accept percentage fee arrangements to begin with. Once the case is underway, and we have heard the other side's argument, we will consider it. However, we must also be satisfied that the other party is financially able to pay the claim. Generally that decision rests with the client. If we were satisfied, and we would charge for the investigation of that issue, we would consider it. If so, we would expect the arrangement to return a higher level of fee, in exchange for waiting for payment and assuming the risk. The Law Society requires the client to enter a written agreement for such arrangements.

We require security of some sort before performing work. Generally, that is a deposit of money to our trust account, which we call a 'retainer' payment which is deposited to our trust account.

Lawyers must maintain bank accounts for 'trust money' separate from the lawyer's own money. The money 'in trust' still belongs to the client, but only the lawyer has signing authority. The lawyer can use it to pay disbursements, or to pay his or her own invoice, once it is issued. The Law Society of Saskatchewan has arrangements with the banks under which it monitors these accounts and insures them.

Such a retainer payment is not intended to be a quote or even estimate of what the fees will be. It is just the required amount the lawyer demands for security before commencing work. We try to not 'work beyond' the retainer, for our own protection as well as the client's, but due to the nature of legal work, this is not always possible, and frequently the time and disbursements will exceed the retainer.

The amount required for the retainer payment will depend on many factors and it will be for a specific stage in the procedure. We will advise from time to time when additional retainer payments are required.

Other security is negotiable.

If legal work is complete at the time of payment, we may simply accept payment without an invoice. But normally, we issue an 'Invoice' which performs the function of demanding payment, or 'billing'. It is not necessarily the amount which must be paid, because the client may have deposited money into trust. The trust money will be applied to the invoice, and the client will owe the balance. Generally, an invoice will only show the time and disbursements applied to one file. A client may have more than one file, in which case there may remain unbilled time and disbursements.

We issue monthly 'Billing Statements'. These show the history of the amount owing to us, including invoices, payments, and interest. Again, these do not show the amount which was paid to the trust account, until it is paid to the lawyer. Nor do they show unbilled work and disbursements. These do apply to all files for that billing account however.

We can supply a 'trust ledger card' upon request. This shows the history of money in trust.

From time to time when we issue an Invoice, we charge less than the time incurred would require. This is called an Offer Of Voluntary Reduction. However, we can retract this offer at any time before payment of the invoice amount. Further, if we must enforce payment, this offer is automatically retracted. In either case, the interest must be recalculated back to the date of the invoice.

We charge a high rate of interest, namely 2 per cent per month, compounded monthly. We are not, and do not wish to be in the business of providing credit. This is not intended to make a profit for us, but to encourage clients to find their credit elsewhere.

To retain us now, please call or fill out our online form.

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