Welcome to the Lacer-Litigation Lacourcère LLP newsletter. This is our first edition and we are very excited at getting this initiative going. Our promise is that all Lacer newsletters will be simple, informative, and stimulating. We look forward to your feedback – we intend to pay attention to all feedback and improve.
The Cost of Litigation
One important factor that tends to limit people from going to court is the rising cost of legal services. The cost of legal services, especially litigation, is currently so prohibitive that people often shy away from the courts.
Attempts have been made to reduce costs. Examples include: increasing the amount over which Provincial Courts may hear matters, ($50,000.00); allowing self-represented litigants in Court; and keeping the Costs that Courts might award against a party low. Despite those initiatives, however, legal costs continue to trend upwards.
As litigators, we perennially hear these concerns and are continually challenged by clients to come up with new and creative ideas to billing. Lawyers have to navigate that well known path- being sensitive to the cost concerns, and at the same time, understanding that law practice is a business. Here are a number of approaches to billing:
The list here is not comprehensive. Nevertheless, the central concern remains how to convey value to the client within an acceptable pricing model. In our practice, we observe that clients: appreciate transparency in discussing fees; welcome fee- discounts; and will pay fees so long as they are carried along through the litigation process.
While we continue to retain billing by the hour, we take the position that a budget and/or a flat fee approach for legal services is perhaps the way to go: A budget arrived at, either for each stage of the litigation process, or for a particular phase- for example, a budget for up to and including the Questioning process. All in all, both the lawyer and the client should ensure an open conversation concerning fees.