Legal Fees is a general term which encompasses the total bill a Client
pays his Lawyer for the work on a case or file. However legal fees are
really composed of the Fee, Disbursements and Taxes.
The Fee is the amount due to the Lawyer for the work he has done on
your behalf on the file.
Disbursements are the costs and expenses a Lawyer incurs and pays
while working on the file on behalf of the Client which are billed to the Client.
Taxes are GST and, in the case of British Columbia, Provincial Sales
Tax (PST) as well.
BASICALLY THERE ARE FOUR TYPES OF LEGAL FEES:
A. Hourly Rate - is a dollar amount per hour for the time a Lawyer
spends on your file. If the hourly rate is $300 per hour and the Lawyer
spends four hours on your file, you will be billed $1,200 for Fees.
B. Quoted Fixed Fee - is a set Fee for the work on the file. For
instance, most real estate conveyancing files are done on a fixed fee basic; such as
$700 for Fees for acting for a Seller. Another example of a fixed fee
matter is Incorporations.
C. Percentage - is used on certain files where the Lawyer will
receive a certain percentage of what the Lawyer obtains for the Client.
So, if the Fee arrangement is that the Lawyer would receive 25% of
what the Lawyer recovered, the Lawyer would receive $25,000 for a Fee if
he were to recover $100,000 for the Client.
D. Contingency - is usually an all or
nothing type fee arrangement that is contingent on the Lawyer obtaining
a certain result. So, if the Lawyer had an agreement with his
Client that he were to receive a Fee of $25,000 upon the Development
Appeal Board approving a subdivision, the Lawyer would only collect the
Fee if the subdivision were approved. If the subdivision were not
approved, the Lawyer may receive nothing or perhaps be paid an hourly
rate if that were part of arrangement.
Depending upon the legal matter, we could discuss which Fee
arrangement would be agreeable to both of us for your particular