Retainer and Billing Policies
WHO YOU RETAIN: You retain the individual lawyer within the Association that you brought your work to, who will represent you in his or her capacity as a sole practitioner member of the Association.
LAWYERS AND CLERKS: While you can expect that much of the work will be performed or supervised by the lawyer you have retained, you agree that he or she may assign other lawyers or law clerks in Nava Wilson LLP to perform legal services on your behalf. In return, he or she will always remain accountable to you for the timeliness, quality and effectiveness of the services you receive from our lawyers and law clerks, and you do not have to work with anyone you do not want to work with.
FEE SHARING: You agree that fees charged to you may be reasonably shared among Nava Wilson LLP’s lawyers based on their respective expertise, ability, availability, and proportion of work done, as determined by them. Fee sharing does not increase the total fee charged to you. Details will be provided if you request them.
CLIENT CONFIDENTIALITY: When you retain us all information and documentation you provide to us will be kept in the strictest confidence and protected by solicitor and client confidentiality. We will maintain the confidentiality and privacy of your information and documentation and the advice we provide to you and will not disclose it to third parties without your prior consent. This obligation extends to all our lawyers and staff. There are some exceptions to our ability to maintain confidentiality and claim privilege on your behalf, however, including government investigations, court orders and third-party litigation; in those circumstances will not release any such information or documentation without making all reasonable efforts to contact you first and ensure you are aware of your legal rights to oppose any such disclosure or impose terms.
CONFIDENTIAL COMMUNICATION: You must advise us and keep us advised of the most appropriate way of communicating with you in a confidential manner, including mailing addresses, phone numbers and email addresses. Our policy is that client communications sent by mail or courier are marked “Personal and Confidential”. You must instruct your employees, family members etc. to respect that marking and to turn our envelopes and packages over to you unopened. Email is not a totally secure method of communication. You will be responsible for ensuring the security of all email addresses you supply to us, and we will take no responsibility for any security breaches that result to you from our using the email addresses you supply to us.
INVOICING: Invoices will be sent to you by the lawyer that you retained, who will be billing you as a sole proprietor. The Association does not issue invoices. If any other lawyers or law clerks worked on your file then their effort, expertise, time and disbursements will be included in the invoice sent to you and their names will be listed. Invoices may be sent from time to time and not simply at the end of the project in question.
DETAILED ACCOUNTING INFORMATION: Details of time spent and how we calculated our fee, including which lawyer or law clerk performed various services on your file, as well as all expenses, disbursements, HST and other invoicing and billing matters, will be made available to you on request.
FEES GENERALLY: Our fees will be based principally on the time spent on your behalf, but may also take into account other issues including the complexity of the matter, the experience and expertise employed, the results achieved, the value of the risk or opportunity in question, and the turnaround time required. Records of all time will be kept and accounts will then be prepared and sent to you periodically. Hourly rates will depend on the qualifications and experience of the persons involved, and are available on request. Rates are adjusted periodically.
We are sometimes able to give you a fixed fee or suggested budget for a project, but our time spent is often dictate by events beyond our control or anticipation including demands from you, other lawyers, other professionals, the client on the other side, government regulators, etc.
As we are not your partner, and do not share in the upside of your investments, projects and activities, we do not expect to be asked to share in your downside if things do not go well in your transactions or projects.
Finally, we rarely consider or entertain rate or fee reductions based on client volume, as we only have time to sell, cannot resell what has gone by, and are very much in demand with selling all the hours we can work in a given year.
We are happy to openly discuss any portion of our fees with you, and want to hear from you if you are unhappy with our invoices.
EXPENSES AND DISBURSEMENTS: You will also be responsible for reimbursing us for expenses (also called disbursements) incurred on your behalf and allocated to your file. These include long distance calls, faxes, postage, deliveries, travel expenses, photocopying, government filing and search charges and the fees of agents who conduct investigations, searches and registrations and all other reasonable out of pocket expenses and office charges.
HST: You will be charged HST on fees and on some disbursements. HST will be itemized in the invoices we provide to you.
PAYMENT TERMS: All invoices are due when rendered, and we expect all invoices to be paid within one month of your receipt of them.
INTEREST: If any account is not paid within one month, interest will be charged on the outstanding balance at the maximum rate authorized by applicable legislation or by the Law Society of Ontario from the date of the account, until paid.
FINANCIAL RETAINERS: Any financial retainers or prepayments of fees or disbursements will be placed in your lawyer’s trust account and will serve as a source of payment for all or part of our account or accounts when rendered. You may be asked to replenish a financial retainer from time to time. Any unused portion will be returned to you upon the completion or termination of our services.
PAYMENT OF INVOICES FROM TRUST FUNDS: You hereby authorize us to pay any of our outstanding invoices from trust funds held for you to the extent available and provided that an itemized invoice including confirmation of payment from trust is mailed or emailed to you prior to any funds being taken from the trust account.
LIEN ON CLIENT RECORDS: You hereby agree that we have a lien on all your records, original documentation and other property in our possession to secure payment of outstanding fees, disbursements and interest owing to us.
TRUST FUNDS: Unless other arrangements are made with us, all trust funds will be held by the lawyer you retained in his or her general mixed trust account. These accounts and funds do not earn interest payable to you or the lawyers involved, but may earn interest at very low rates payable to the Law Foundation of Ontario pursuant to arrangement between the bank involved and the Law Society of Ontario. Detailed trust ledgers to account for your funds are available on request, and will be provided to you upon completion of your project.
KNOW YOUR CLIENT: You agree that we will comply with the Know Your Client requirements of the Law Society of Ontario, as outlined on the Know Your Client section of our website at www.navawilson.law.
MULTIPLE REPRESENTATION: From time to time you may ask us to represent you in the course of representing a group of clients of the firm. In those situations you agree that you have consented to us representing you and everyone else in the group; you cannot tell us something in secret or under the expectation that we will not tell anyone else in the group as we will keep secrets among or between partners, co-venturers, co-tenants etc. when we represent more than one of them; we cannot represent you or any other single group member of combination of group members in the event of a dispute among you related to that project; we will advise you to get independent legal advice and may insist that you do so even if you offer to sign a waiver; and you will sign a written multi-party representation and independent legal advice acknowledgment when asked by us to do so.
CREDIT BUREAUS: To help us make credit decisions about clients, prevent fraud, check the identity of new clients and prevent money-laundering, we may on occasion, request information about you from the files of consumer reporting agencies. If you are a client of our firm or ask to become a client of our firm you are deemed to consent to our collecting credit information about you from consumer reporting agencies.
TERMINATION OF SERVICES: You have the right to terminate our services at any time on written notice to us.
Subject to our obligations to you to maintain proper standards of professional conduct, we reserve the right to terminate our services to you for good reasons which include, but are not limited to: (a) if you fail to cooperate with us in any reasonable request; (b) if our continuing to act would be unethical or impractical; (c) if you ask us to do anything on your behalf that is illegal or unethical; (d) if a financial retainer we ask for is not paid; (e) if you fail to pay our accounts when rendered; (f) if we have a significant disagreement over a course of action or opinion we provide to you, or the value of the services we have provided, which indicates a substantial mistrust of the quality of the advice you are receiving from us; or (g) if we determine that we do not have the time, expertise or resources to properly represent you.
If you terminate our services or we withdraw, you will only have to pay our fees and expenses up until the time we stopped acting for you. Upon payment in full, all your records, documents and other property in our possession will be returned to you.