Consultations: I charge $300.00 + HST for an initial consultation; this consultation can take anywhere from 2-3 hours, depending on the complexity of the matter and the number of issues to be addressed.
Basic Hourly Fee: $250.00 + HST and disbursements (see more on 'disbursements' below).
Discounted/Sliding Scale Fees: You may qualify for discounted fees (on a sliding scale) if you are a lower-income client; contact me for further information.
Payment Plan: You may qualify for a payment plan if you are a lower-income client; contact me for further information.
Legal Aid: I accept Legal Aid certificates, and am a member of the Family Law and Domestic Violence panels at Legal Aid Ontario.
Flat Rate Services: Some (albeit few) services are available on a flat rate basis; contact me for further information.
*All rates are subject to change with notice.
Get legal advice by scheduling a consultation. I will give you information regarding your rights and help you plan your next steps. ALL CONSULTATIONS ARE BY APPOINTMENT ONLY.
To schedule a consultation, do one of the following:
1. Call the office at (416) 361-9644 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday;
3. Submit the online form on the Contact Me
I endeavor to respond to your request within one business day.
MORE USEFUL INFO
Keeping your costs down
You can help keep your costs down. The following will save you money and help me work more efficiently for you:
- Do not contact me unnecessarily, as you will be billed for time spent. Save up minor or non-urgent questions for appointments, as fewer phone calls and e-mails mean fewer charges.
- E-mails are the most cost-efficient way to ask me questions; if I feel a question requires a more substantial conversation I will call you back.
- Cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance, or you will be charged for any time I spent reviewing your file in preparation of our meeting.
- Do your homework - gather the information I request and complete any documents I have given you in advance of our meeting as thoroughly as possible.
- I am your lawyer, not your psychiatrist. When you meet with me, stick to legal issues - not emotional ones.
- Return my calls. While I do not generally charge for calls of an administrative nature, I will charge you for my time if I have to nag and track you down.
- Don't keep any information from me - even if you think it might hurt your case. Not only do I not like surprises, they can often become very expensive for you.
- Although I do not practice collaborative law, I appreciate that there are other ways to resolve issues than in court. Please be prepared to try mediation if you and I believe it might be appropriate.
Being reasonable in the position you take concerning settlement is another way to keep legal costs down. If one party takes an unreasonable position, and a matter is not settled, it will go to court - and court is an expensive place to be. The amount of money spent on legal fees is most often directly related to the level of conflict in your case. You must have realistic expectations about the impact your lawyer can have in a high-conflict case, whether the conflict originates with the opposing side or their lawyer.
It is a lawyer's job to resolve the dispute on your behalf and on your instructions. Responsible lawyers do not create unnecessary disputes. My job is to assist you in resolving conflict, not to make it worse.
A retainer is a written agreement between a lawyer and client setting out the work for which you are hiring me at my hourly rate. 'Retainer' also refers to the money that the lawyer requests before working on the file and is paid to a lawyer in trust. This payment is made with the understanding that it will be used to pay accounts for legal services and disbursements as these expenses arise. You are expected to provide and replace the retainer when requested, as it is spent, so there is enough money in trust to cover both the work I have done, and the next step which needs to be done. Until you provide me with a retainer, or replace it when it is exhausted, I cannot work on your file.
The initial retainer is usually set at an amount that will pay for the first stage of work. The retainer is not a flat fee or an estimate. Before the issues are clarified and I know the degree of resistance to be offered, I cannot predict the amount of work to do nor the time needed to complete it. My retainer varies depending on the urgency and complexity of the case. Any unused portion of the retainer will be refunded to you at the end of my work on that particular matter.
I charge by the hour. The more time a matter takes, the more a matter will cost. Flat fees are given only when I know in advance how much time the matter will take, e.g. for an uncontested divorce. It is difficult for me to estimate what your matter will cost you as there are many factors, many of which are outside our control, including the reaction and tactics of the other side, how many issues there are, how much time they take to resolve, whether new issues arise, and whether we can settle this case without going to court. However, I see it as my job to close your file as quickly and economically as possible, consistent with protecting your interests.
While a legal fee is the amount of money that I receive for the professional services rendered, disbursements are monies spent by me on a client's behalf. Some examples of disbursements are:
- fees charged by the court to issue or file a document
- charges for a process server to serve and/or file a document
- expert (actuarial, psychological or business) reports
- long-distance, photocopying, postage, courier, and fax charges
- parking and mileage
I generally prepare accounts monthly. If you go to court, you may get more frequent accounts to ensure that you have an ongoing understanding of what your case is costing you; many people find this information influences their idea about what constitutes "reasonable" settlement (or what their next step will be). Accounts are due when they are sent unless we have arranged otherwise.
Progress of your case
I will keep you informed of all major developments in your case, and send you a copy of relevant correspondence, reports, and pleadings and other court documents (by e-mail if possible, or paper copies at our meetings). Keep this material organized, with correspondence in one file and court documents in another, all in chronological order.
Ending my work for you
You may fire me at any time by giving me written notice to stop all work on your behalf and by paying any balance owing. If I am shown on court documents as your lawyer, the court records must be formally changed in writing. If I must take legal steps either to end my representation of you or to collect my accounts, you will be charged for my time. Subject to my obligation to ensure proper standards of professional conduct, I can also end the solicitor-client relationship. If this should happen, I will do so in writing, and I will assist in the transfer of your file, if appropriate.
Some of the circumstances that may cause me to end the retainer are:
- I cannot get instructions from you;
- you lose confidence in my ability or advice;
- a conflict of interest arises;
- I cannot accept your instructions for ethical reasons, i.e., you mislead me or lie to me;
- your retainer has not been provided or replaced; or
- invoices remain unpaid for 30 days, and no mutually agreeable arrangements have been made.
Still have questions? Not sure if you even need a lawyer?