At Zeilikman Law, we appreciate the fact that retaining a lawyer can be an unfamiliar experience for some. Many of our clients have never had to retain a litigation lawyer before they retained us. As such, we encourage all our prospective clients to inquire into our firm’s billing practices prior to becoming our client to determine if Zeilikman Law is a good fit for you.
Below are various billing structures that have worked for many of our clients in the past and, depending on the nuances of your specific case, may work for you. We are here to make the experience of retaining a lawyer as stress-free as reasonably possible.
You can also learn more about our consultation process.
The most common and straightforward way to retain a lawyer is on an hourly fee basis. An hourly retainer agreement entails paying the law firm on the basis of the hourly rate of the individual who is assigned to perform various legal tasks during the lifetime of the file. You will not be billed for a dormant file or in between stages in the litigation process when there is no activity in the file, only if and when the lawyer and their support staff actually spend time doing work on the file. Our law firm is very strict about ensuring transparency in our billing practices and our docketed time will always be accompanied by a detailed statement of account setting out the actual work performed, the time spent in respect of the work, your individual trust account activity and the disbursements (expenses) that you may have incurred in the matter. To avoid surprises, we ensure to deliver up-to-date statements of account to the client every time a bill is generated on each billing cycle in accordance with our legal and professional obligations. Simply put, you will not be left “in the dark” with respect to what is going on with your file or what you are actually being billed for. Furthermore, the hourly retainer agreement arrangement will be presented to you in writing prior to our firm being retained to avoid future misunderstandings.
Another popular way to retain a lawyer in an employment matter is on a “contingency basis.” A contingency fee retainer agreement is an arrangement between the client and the law firm in which the law firm is paid in the event of a successful outcome of the matter whether by way of a negotiated settlement or through the court’s judgment. This type of arrangement applies to individuals who are seeking to obtain compensation as opposed to those having to defend a claim or respond to a legal proceeding. This arrangement works well for many individuals who contact our law firm as they are experiencing financial and emotional distress after recently losing their job. Removing the need to pay for legal fees upfront takes care of an extra worry in the litigation process.
Our firm operates on the basis of a simple three-step gradual contingency fee arrangement wherein fees may range from 25% to 30% to 35% of the amount recovered depending on the stage in the litigation process. As a client, you will always maintain the right to make all critical decisions in your matter. For instance, we will not take an important step in the litigation process or make or accept an offer on your behalf without your express approval.
As with our hourly retainer fee arrangement, our firm maintains a strict accountability and transparency approach commensurate with our legal and professional obligations. Each client who wishes to retain our services will be provided with a contingency fee retainer agreement in writing and an accompanying Law Society issued guide advising the prospective client of their rights prior to becoming a client with our law firm. The retainer agreement will set out, among other things, your fee arrangement with our firm as well as what happens if the retainer agreement ends before the settlement or final disposition of the matter. Once and if our law firm is able to attain a successful outcome for you in your matter, you will be presented with a statement of account setting out the trust account activity concerning your matter including any disbursements incurred by you or on your behalf and legal fees paid to the law firm.
Although far less common than the hourly retainer agreement arrangement or the contingency fee retainer agreement arrangement, our firm may agree to provide certain legal services on a flat fee basis. This arrangement usually entails one particular task such as the preparation of an employment agreement, a workplace policy or anything else that is clearly definable and of a limited scope. This type of arrangement usually works best for our employer clients or individuals requiring a legal opinion letter or any such other similarly defined task. As with all other forms of retainers with our law firm, a flat fee agreement arrangement will be prepared and given to you in writing prior to our firm being retained.