WEBSITE LEGAL FEE & BILLING POLICY
At Advocation Professional Corporation (“Advocation” or the “Firm”), we are committed to helping our clients achieve amazing results with any employment law obstacle or opportunity they face. Therefore, we have created the following billing policy to ensure that the Firm stays financially viable and continues to meet our client’s needs.
This billing policy is subject to change from time to time, at the discretion of Advocation, and such changes shall be posted at www.advocation.ca/billing. This policy supersedes all existing policies for the billing of our services.
1.DETERMINING YOUR LEGAL FEES
Advocation offers several fee arrangements to best accommodate the needs of our varied clients. Advocation’s fee arrangements include contingency fees, fixed-fees/flat-rates, scheduled fixed-fee/flat-rates, and agreed upon hourly rates which may vary based on the Advocation team member assisting you. During your initial consultation, we will discuss and determine the best fee arrangement for your matter. Your fee will be determined based on the complexity of your case and the value we provide to you.
Your specific billing arrangements will be detailed in your Legal Services Retainer Agreement. Where Advocation has agreed to a specific billing arrangement that differs from this policy, your specific billing arrangement as detailed in your Legal Services Retainer Agreement will always take precedence.
Advocation offers the following payment options to its clients:
- Email/Electronic Funds Transfers; and
- Credit card (Visa and MasterCard).
Payment options are detailed on your invoice. Payment is due and expected when services are rendered to you. In some cases, Advocation may require a Trust Retainer Deposit to start work on your behalf. Trust Retainer Deposits may be for the full or partial estimated or actual legal fees.
Advocation retains the right to charge an administration fee of $100.00 + HST if a cheque is dishonored or a credit card is declined and a member of our team is required follow-up with you about your outstanding payment.
Advocation does not store or keep credit card or bank account information for fees arrangements other than for monthly “Peace of Mind” services and Evergreen Retainers. Advocation clients with monthly “Peace of Mind” services and Evergreen Retainers who pay by credit card are required to complete a credit card authorization form: credit card information is stored safely with Advocation’s credit card payment processor.
3. CREDIT CARD PAYMENT TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Advocation has created two separate credit card payment processing accounts depending on whether your payment will be deposited into our Operating Account or our Trust Account.
Withdrawals from client trust accounts are strictly controlled by law and the Rules of the Law Society of Upper Canada. Therefore, you agree that if you make a payment by credit card, whether for a payment to Advocation’s Operating account or Trust account, you will NOT cancel, charge back, or revoke the card, nor dispute the charge with the credit card company, or otherwise demand a reversal of the charges by the credit card company, unless such an agreement is prohibited by law.
Instead, you agree to notify Advocation if you wish to revoke the payment and/or terminate our services. Advocation will promptly refund any unused and/or undisputed balances to you. Any disputed billing that cannot be resolved between you and the Firm within ten (10) business days will be submitted for resolution according to Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s legal bill review process.
If, after a payment by credit card, you do dispute the charges and cancel, revoke, or charge back a previously entered charge on your credit card such that a fee, penalty, overdraft, or other unanticipated charge is posted to Advocation’s Operating account or Trust account, and it is later determined that the charge was properly authorized, you agree to pay all out of pocket fees and costs (including legal fees) incurred by Advocation as a result of the improper cancellation, revocation, charge back or dispute.
4. SPECIFIC BILLING POLICIES BASED ON THE DIFFERENT FEE ARRANGEMENTS
Full or partial retainers for the total estimated legal cost are required for Hourly rate services, Fixed-Fee rate services and other custom services by Advocation.
For all payment options, if payment is not made in accordance with your payment schedule or if you fail to pay your invoice on time, then work on your file will automatically cease until your payment is current.
- Hourly/Activity Time Billing
If Advocation provides its services to you based on an agreed-upon hourly rate, you are charged for the time we spend working on your case at the hourly rate. Invoices may be issued periodically, but are typically issued on the 1st and/or 15th day of each month. The total invoiced amount is due on receipt by the client.
Each billable activity will be billed in minimum increments of one-tenth of an hour per activity (i.e., in six (6) minute increments). Time shall be rounded-up to the nearest one-tenth of an hour. For example, if a phone call lasts 10 minutes, time will round up to 12 minutes (two 1/10 of an hour increments).
Billable time begins at the time when we begin services for you or the appointment time, whichever is earlier. For example, if you make an appointment for 10:00 am, but you are unavailable to begin until 10:15 am, billable time will begin at 10:00 am. Consequently, if you make an appointment at 10:00 am and but the appointment starts earlier at 9:50 am, billable time will begin at 9:50 am.
Administrative tasks may also be billed based on the time spent by a lawyer, paralegal or administrative staff member. This administrative time is billed at the applicable hourly rate that applies at the time such services are performed and is also billed in six-minute increments and rounded-up to the nearest 1/10 of an hour.
- Payment of Limited Time, Fixed-Fee/Flat-Rate Matters
If Advocation provides its services to you based on an agreed-upon amount, you are responsible for the entire fixed-fee/Flat-rate. Fixed fees are determined based on the complexity of your case, the costs of delivering the service and the value we provide to you. Typically, half of the fee is due at the time you hire Advocation with the remainder (including HST) due 30-days thereafter.
- Monthly “Peace of Mind” Services and Evergreen Retainers
Advocation clients with monthly “Peace of Mind” or evergreen retainer payment arrangements can pay by credit card or electronic funds transfer only. The client credit card or account will be automatically charged on or about the first day of the month. The total invoiced amount will be due on receipt by the client.
Advocation retains the right to charge an administration fee of $100.00 + HST if your credit card fails after five (5) attempts and/or if a member of our team is required follow-up with you about your outstanding payment.
- Contingency Payments
If Advocation provides its services to you on a contingency fee basis, you are required to pay Advocation a percentage of your settlement or judgment based on the improvement achieved. You are responsible for the full amount of the contingency fee and agree to direct any money awarded to you from a settlement or judgment to Advocation in trust if you owe fees for the services provided to you.