Why Travel Costs shouln'd be A Significant Concern
You should not let geographic location be your primary determining factor in choosing a lawyer to represent you for your employment or professional conduct matter. Our practice is highly connected, mobile, and cost-competitive with local counsel anywhere in Ontario. We foster close connections with our clients, even if every meeting is not face to face.
Our costs with travel may be less than other's costs without travel
We find travel costs generally constitute a small proportion of our clients' overall expenses, and either eliminate travel costs entirely or offer flat all-inclusive travel charges specified up front in each retainer agreement. You may find our total costs are lower than local similarly qualified legal counsel, even once travel is figured into the equation, because of us not having to pay big city overheads. And outside of big cities, you may not be able to find similarly qualified counsel who are readily available, whereas our practice is based on operations anywhere in Ontario. We've worked from Thunder Bay, to Sudbury, to London, to Ottawa, and of course in the Greater Toronto Area, and are familiar with the courts and tribunals throughout the province.
We find the clients who get on best with us like quick and thoughtful electronic responses to queries, some telephone contact for more nuanced discussions, face to face contact when justified like preparation for testimony, and reliable attendance at court or tribunal hearings wherever they might be.
Most EMPLOYMENT & Professional Conduct Fees are Incurred from in-Office Work NOT REQUIRING TRAVEL
Most of the time expended on successful employment and professional conduct legal work involves case analysis, negotiation, drafting, and strategy development, all of which is done in the lawyer's office without any travel. In-person hearing time often only involves one day if a matter is resolved through negotiations, and often only a few days if a matter proceeds to a fully contested hearing. Appeals and judicial reviews will usually only be one day of in-person hearing time before a court.
Why A Mix of Hourly Rates & Block Fees Represent Best Value In These Cases
BLOCK FEES & HOURLY RATES FOR ADVICE, DRAFTING & INVESTIGATIONS
We pride ourselves on fee transparency. Wherever possible we will offer clients a "block" fixed fee, once we have determined the scope of the work. However hourly rates mean that you only pay for the time you use. So for advice, drafting and workplace investigations, we may be able to offer both block or hourly fees, depending on the client's preference and ability to define the scope of work in advance of the start of the retainer.
Hourly Rates for First Level Hearings
For litigation work involving first-level boards, tribunals or courts that proceed to "trials" or "hearings" we usually work hourly due to the unpredictability of how far down the formal proceedings road any matter will progress, and because that usually represents best value for our clients who may only require smaller amounts of legal assistance at early stages until their matters are successfully concluded without formal hearings. Even when formal hearings do happen, some cases proceeding to a hearing can be negotiated in a way that only the core issue(s) in dispute go before the tribunal or court.
Block Fees for Appeals, Judicial Reviews & SOME POLICY DRAFTING
In cases involving appeals or judicial reviews we're usually able to offer clients a block flat fee plus disbursements in order to provide fee certainty since it is possible to estimate the precise scope of work in advance for those cases.
Value Because of Lower Overheads
We offer value in both our hourly and block fee rates because you won't be paying for downtown big city overheads, but you'll still benefit from quality of service and experience that meets or beats anywhere in Ontario because of our decades-long background in this kind of work and our devotion to client service. This devotion means responding promptly to all your communications, listening carefully to your desired outcomes, and clearly explaining all available options to you when there are important case choices to be made.
Why Your Insurer OR ASSOCIATION Might Pay SOME OF Your legal fees
Many business carry general liability insurance that could extend to employment-related litigation. It is always worth asking your insurer if you're covered, or if you can add such coverage for future matters.
Most professionals carry insurance for negligence. That insurance might extend to paying for the defence of professional conduct proceedings. Sometimes it's part of your standard coverage, at other times it's an optional addition to you policy or must be purchased from a different insurer. Again, it's always worth contacting your insurer to ask if you're covered for legal fees in the professional situation you find yourself in.
You might also be part of an employment or professional association (like a professional union) that will cover all or part of your legal fees.
Many insurers and associations will let you seek our your own lawyer of choice, even if they might initially suggest a list of specific lawyers. We've found we can always work with insurers and unions to match the fees and conditions they impose on funding counsel.