HOW MUCH DOES
A CALGARY LAWYER COST?
Lawyers cost a lot. Lawyers generally charge what they think they can get when representing the public. If you drive up in a Ferrari expect to pay more than if you drive up in a junker.
You can always negotiate legal fees. Learn how to negotiate fees and costs with a lawyer. Always get an estimate on the amount of time, money your case will cost.
NEVER PAY A LARGE RETAINER UP FRONT. PAY PERIODICALLY SO YOU HAVE SOME CONTROL OVER THE LAWYER.
NEGOTIATE LEGAL FEES
HOW MUCH DOES A LAWYER COST?
Lawyers cost a lot. Learn how to negotiate legal fees
and costs with a Calgary lawyer before you hire a lawyer.
Always get an estimate on the amount of time, money your case will cost
Ask for a letter of agreement showing what your case will cost
Before you retain or hire a lawyer, ask questions. You can always negotiate legal fees. Paying a lawyer a large retainer up front is a mistake. Negotiate fee payments over time. Pay monthly or quarterly based on progress in the case. If the lawyer has to produce to get paid, you are better off.
Anything you prepay in a retainer is gone and the lawyer will be seeking more money sooner or later. Lawyers will fire clients who cannot come up with more money.
When you do agree, get a letter of agreement outlining the costs, payment schedule, steps and results so you both know what is expected.
If you know how they charge you can negotiate better fees
LAWYER FEES: WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Lawyers charge for services differently, depending on the nature of your needs, the quality of services you seek and the complexity of your situation.
Fees vary from lawyer to lawyer, so be sure you know exactly how you will be charged before retaining any lawyer.
Shop around and compare lawyers, rates and types of fees. Fees are usually negotiable. Make sure you discuss what services are covered directly by the lawyer.
Below is the LSUC Lawyer fee schedule for Ontario Lawyers. Similar rates would apply in Calgary and other areas of Canada.
These fees are guidelines, not requirements.
Category & Hourly Rate
- Senior Counsel 20+ years since call to the bar $350
- Senior Counsel 12-20 years since call to the bar $325
- Counsel 11-12 years since call to the bar $315
- Counsel 10-11 years since call to the bar $300
- Counsel 9-10 years since call to the bar $285
- Counsel 8-9 years since call to the bar $270
- Counsel 7-8 years since call to the bar $255
- Counsel 6-7 years since call to the bar $240
- Counsel 5-6 years since call to the bar $225
- Counsel 4-5 years since call to the bar $215
- Counsel 3-4 years since call to the bar $205
- Counsel 2-3 years since call to the bar $195
- Counsel 1-2 years since call to the bar $180
- Counsel less than 1 year since call to the bar $165
- Law Clerks/Students $90
We strongly recommend that you shop carefully before you hire a lawyer. Lawyers are not cheap. An average rate runs around $350 an hour. A family law case can easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.
You shop for a house, or a car so shop for a lawyer. You are about to spend a very large amount of money.
TIPS ON HIRING A LAWYER
Meeting With Prospective Lawyers
Bring all your available documentation and make notes about your problem before meeting with your prospective lawyer for the first time.
This will allow you to present your problem in the clearest and most organized manner possible. You can then evaluate the lawyer's response to your case and questions.
Changing lawyers is a last resort to be avoided at all costs.
Your new lawyer will probably phone your old lawyer and get an earful.
If you are on Legal Aid, you MUST get their permission before changing lawyers and they may use this as an excuse to cancel your Legal Aid Certificate.
The best way to avoid these problems is to choose the right lawyer in the first place. Go slowly except in personal injury cases which often have very tight deadlines to file a claim. In some cities a slip and fall claim must be made within 2 weeks.
Make a Short List of Two or Three Lawyers
Now, make appointments and go to see each of the lawyers personally. Interview them as if you were hiring them to work for your company. They will be working for you and a bad outcome could ruin your life. Take your time. Choose very carefully.
Ask them for relevant references.
Make the calls and check the references out. See if they were happy with the work, the lawyers, the results and the bill.
Ask if they would use that lawyer again.
Now You Have to Choose a Lawyer
So in picking a Calgary lawyer, eliminate the obvious non starters, sort through the rest using your common sense, gut feel and judgment. If the lawyer seems, after all this, to be someone you can trust and work with, sign on the dotted line.
Ask Yourself If You Can Work With The Lawyer?
Get a feel for the chemistry between you. You are going to be working together on a matter that is probably vital to you. Possibly for years to come.
If you do not like each other, you are going to have problems down the road.
WARNING: Demand Copies of ALL Letters, Court Documents and Records for Your Own Files
Keep copies of all your documents you give to the lawyer.
Insist on getting copies of all correspondence promptly, sent and received by your lawyer.
Solicitor's Lien A lawyer can keep all your documents until you pay all accounts in full whether you agree or not.
If there is a bill dispute, a lawyer can keep all your court and other documents until you pay the bill in full, whether it is fair or not. This is called a Solicitor's Lien and is automatically created when you retain any lawyer anywhere in Canada. BEWARE of this trap. Just demand copies of all documents as they are produced. That way if you have a falling out, you have the complete file in your possession.
Shop Around Meet With Three or Four Lawyers
Check out at least half a dozen and interview three or four before making a choice. You are about to spend a lot of money. Divorce costs thousands. Ask for references and do a reference check. .
Remember, you are about to hire someone who could change your life forever. Take your time.
Calgary-lawyer-referrals.com's Free Referral Service is the best place to start your search. We will refer your case to several lawyers and law firms in the Calgary area who practice in your field of law.
Lawyers who are interested will then get in touch with you. Most offer a free half hour consultation
Once a Calgary lawyer knows what your case is about listen to his/her assessment & consider:
- whether you'll be comfortable working closely with the firm,
- whether you believe the lawyer has the experience and skill to handle your case,
- whether you understand his/her explanation of what the case involves, and
- whether the fee arrangements seem reasonable.
Calgary-lawyer-referrals.com exists to assist individuals and business in locating and hiring the right lawyer for their specific need. We have found lawyers for people just like you.
WE CERTAINLY CAN HELP YOU.
Our Calgary lawyer referral service is free to anyone, and any business anywhere in the world needing legal assistance anywhere in Canada.
Paying a lawyer.
When you do, never pay more then about 25% of the total estimate in advance. Work out a payment plan based on the progress of the file. If you keep control of the money, you have leverage. Litigation almost always is a long slow dreadful process and a lawyer needs an incentive to push the case forward. If he cannot get paid until your case reaches the next stage, s/he will be motivated to work harder.
Letter of Agreement
Now finally, when you are both agreed, draw up a letter of agreement. This letter need not be a fancy contract. Just outline the work and results you expect, the price and the payment terms and a timetable. This is something you can do yourself, or if your new lawyer does it, make sure s/he does not charge you for it.
Know This When Shopping for a Lawyer
- Lawyers need a steady flow of new clients.
- The average lawyer has about 150 active clients at any time. You will be one of many.
- Lawyers need your business. Law Offices are very expensive to operate. The legal secretary is probably making more than you.
- Lawyers are not doing you a favour by taking your account.
- You are the client. You call the shots, but listen to your lawyer's advice and ask questions.
Ask Each Lawyer These Questions:
- How long have you been in practice?
- Do you have a specialist designation?
- How many cases like this have you had?
- Do you go to trial or are most cases settled out of court?
- How many have you won?
- How much would this case cost me?
- What payment plans will you accept?
- Who will actually do the work on this file?
- How long will this type of case take to see to a settlement or the end?
These are loaded questions, but any lawyer can provide answers to every one of them without difficulty. The answers will help you weed out some lawyers. Lawyers will also appreciate this since it saves both you and them from wasted time and effort.
An incompetent attorney can delay a trial for months or years. A competent attorney can delay one even longer. - Evelle J. Younger
HOW MUCH DOES A LAWYER COST? Learn how to negotiate legal fees and hire a lawyer. Ask for a letter of agreement showing what your case will cost