Our fees are generally based on the hourly rates of our lawyers, paralegals, assistants and articled students who perform services on your behalf.

In the course of determining our fees, we consider the following:

•           The time and effort required;

•           The complexity of the issues raised;

•           The level of skill required;

•           Fees typically charged for similar services;

•           The benefit of our services to you;

•           The amount of money or value of the property involved;

•           The results achieved;

•           Any time constraints;

•           The experience, reputation and expertise of the lawyers performing the services; and

•           Our success in achieving your goals.

Our time and effort required are typically the most relevant factors. We maintain accurate records of the time we devote to your matter, including discussions and conferences (both in person and over the telephone), correspondence, negotiations with third parties, fact gathering, legal research and analysis, document preparation and revision, travel on your behalf, and other related matters. Our time is recorded in units of tenths of an hour. The hourly rates of our lawyers and legal assistants have an important bearing on the fees we charge. These rates may be adjusted annually to reflect current levels of legal experience, changes in market conditions and other factors.

Fees

When we are requested to estimate the amount of fees and expense likely to be incurred in connection with a particular matter, we base our estimate upon our professional judgment, but always with a clear understanding that it is not a maximum or guaranteed fixed-fee quotation. We will normally provide a range of the possible fees and expense involved. This estimated range is based upon our experience and our understanding that it is not a maximum or guaranteed fixed-fee quotation. Actual legal fees can vary based upon a number of factors including altered instructions, the scope of engagement and the positions taken by other parties. In addition to fees, you will be responsible for all disbursements and taxes payable.

Estimates & Budgets

Our files are maintained in electronic format on our own server located in British Columbia. Some administrative files, timekeeping for example, are maintained using a cloud-based server located in the United States of America.  We attempt to use email communications wherever possible for speed and efficiency.  We may also communicate with you using our secure messaging program, particularly if we are collaborating on preparing documents.  If you do not wish us to use these services for your files, please advise us. 

 

 

 

 

Files

TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT

Interim Accounts

We will send you periodic, generally monthly statements of account unless otherwise agreed so that you will be aware of the ongoing cost of our services.

Fixed Fees

For certain well-defined services, we may be able to quote a fixed fee. It is our policy not to accept engagements on a fixed-fee basis except in defined service areas or pursuant to a special arrangement tailored to the needs of a particular client. In all such situations, the flat fee arrangement will be expressed in a letter, setting forth both the amount of the fee and the specific nature of the services to be provided.

Disbursements

We charge our clients not only for the legal services rendered, but also for the expense that we incur in providing our services. Examples include long distance telephone calls, photocopies, postage, courier charges and court filing fees.  We reserve the right to pay disbursements directly from funds in our trust account or to require funds to pay a disbursement or to ask that a disbursement be paid directly by our client. We will normally ask our clients to pay directly any disbursement in excess of $500.

Clients of our firm are commonly requested to provide us with a retainer payable to “Dogwood Law Corporation in trust”. If you provide a retainer to us, you grant us a security interest in the retainer. Unless otherwise agreed, the retainer will be credited toward our accounts when rendered or when unpaid.  We reserve the right to request that the retainer be replenished or increased in the course of our engagement. You will be notified from time to time of the amounts applied or withdrawn from the retainer paid. Any unused portion of the retainer will be paid to you upon the completion of our services.

All trust deposits we receive from you, including retainers, will be deposited to our trust account for your benefit. Your deposit will be placed in a non-interest bearing pooled account unless you request an interest earning account. There is a set fee for the opening of an interest earning account. Interest earned in the interest earning trust account will be added to the deposit for your benefit and is considered taxable income.

At the end of our engagement, it is our practice to provide a final report with a reconciliation of trust funds deposited and disbursed.

Retainer and Trust Deposits

You may terminate our representation at any time, with or without cause, by notifying us. Our physical and electronic files related to our services will be retained by us. You are entitled to receive copies of documents you or third parties may have provided to us subject to payment of our copying expense. The termination of our services will not affect your liability for payment for legal services rendered and any additional charges incurred before termination, and for any charges made in order to effect an orderly transition of the matter to you or other legal counsel. We are subject to a Code of Professional Conduct. The Code lists the circumstances that allow or require us to withdraw from representing a client, including for example: nonpayment of fees or costs, misrepresentation or failure to disclose material facts, action contrary to our advice, and conflict of interest with another client. We try to identify in advance and discuss with our client any situation which may lead to our withdrawal and if withdrawal becomes necessary written notice is given to the client. If it is necessary that we withdraw our representation, it will not affect your liability for any unpaid or unbilled fees or disbursements that may be outstanding as at the date of such withdrawal.

Our physical and electronic files may be destroyed by us six years after the termination of our engagement.

Termination of Services

Billing Arrangements & Terms of Payment

We render accounts on a regular basis, normally monthly unless otherwise agreed, for both fees and disbursements. A detailed account for the work performed by the lawyer, paralegal, student and legal assistant along with a description of the charges will be provided with each billing unless other arrangements are agreed. Our accounts are payable upon receipt. Costs or disbursements incurred by us during a particular billing period and not included in the account rendered for that billing period will be included in a subsequent account.

Unpaid fees and disbursements accrue interest at 2% per month. If the account remains unpaid and you do not arrange for payment in a timely way, we will withdraw as your legal counsel from the engagement and, if necessary, pursue collection of the account. You will be responsible for interest on overdue accounts and collection costs

Interest Charges

Your Right to Contest Fees

We are always open to discussion about billing and how our fees are determined. A disagreement about our fees should be discussed with us. In the event the fee dispute cannot be resolved, you have the right to have the account assessed before the Registrar of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

Client Relations

If you prefer to be notified when our work in progress reaches a specific dollar level, so that you are aware of the fees being incurred, please let us know. We are also prepared to outline the anticipated expense involved so that you can budget accordingly. We want to ensure that our fees are fair, reasonable and consistent with your expectations.

The lawyer-client relationship will be considered terminated upon the completion of any services that you have retained us to perform. If you later retain us to perform further or additional services, our lawyer-client relationship will be revived subject to these terms of engagement, as they may be amended from time to time.

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