You probably shouldn't base your choice of a defence or divorce attorney on their fees alone. But for basic, mundane wills and mortgages there's really little advantage to paying exorbitant rates to a downtown lawyer over modest rates to a suburban attorney.
Always discuss fees with your prospective attorney before agreeing to anything. Especially, ask whether they merely pass on the fees for basic office services such as phone calls, FAXes and couriers, or do they charge their own scandalous fees? Will you have to pay by the hour (or worse yet, by the minute!) for personal visits?
Many lawyers will charge an outrageous minimum fee every time you call to ask a simple question, or an extortionate fee based on the length of any phone call made on your behalf, whether it was long distance or local. For instance, some have been known to charge $100 minimum plus $50 a minute for simple telephone consultations. Others have been known to charge $100 for FAXing a single page document across the city.
Do not for an instant think that you can't bargain for a lawyer's fees. The legal profession must bow to the pressures of marketing and competition as much as any other, whether they like the concept or not.
LOAN INSURANCE ALERT!
If you are considering or already have any sort of insurance policy through any lending institution on any loans, mortgages, charge cards or charge accounts you should read this!
Even if you already have the insurance you may decide to cancel it and get similar insurance through another source.
SAVE YOUR MONEY!
The lawyer was one of those people we had to energize to keep the project on track and on schedule. We were pleasantly surprised!
It had been years since we had needed a lawyer for anything so we had no idea who to go to. We asked Sue Black-Garland of the INVIS Financial Group for help. (Sue was our mortgage broker.) She FAXed us the contact information for three or four lawyers who she knew would do the job. We really appreciated the help, but unfortunately the lawyers she knew about were all in high rise office buildings in the city core with fees to match. Thus, not only were they completely inaccessible, they were also completely unaffordable.
Stan grabbed a copy of the Yellow Pages and began perusing the various lawyer's ads, looking for attorneys (Barristers and Solicitors in Canada, a carryover from the old British system.) in nearby areas who listed things like mortgages. Thus we found Mr. Kerry McClelland of the Bowness Montgomery Law Offices. Not only was Kerry a nice guy, but his fees were entirely reasonable and his office was only about ten minutes away from Stan's workplace by car. Heckofadeal!
"But," you cry, "what good is the lawyer and why do we need one?" We can trace our legal system from basic, tribal law of several tens of thousands of years ago through Hammurabi, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Romans, the Holy Roman Empire and the British Empire. Legal matters have not become any simpler over that vast sweep of history. A lawyer is required by the lending institution to make sure that all its requirements are met. It's a good idea on our part to ensure that our interests are also protected.
For instance, during the course of finalizing the mortgage Kerry stated "They expect me to be a salesman for them, too." He was referring to documents included with the mortgage papers offering an insurance policy on Stan that would pay off the mortgage in the case of his death. "As your lawyer I would recommend that you not buy this insurance. Go through an independent insurance broker instead." (Our emphasis, not Kerry's.)
Place a gold star after Kerry's name!
Although we were the only ones paying him for his services, Kerry's job was to represent both parties in this matter. The bank's mortgage was pretty much cut and dried. This was true partly because we were getting the mortgage at bargain basement rates in the first place, partly because Sue Black-Garland of the INVIS Financial Group had already done all the bargaining possible before we arrived at this juncture. Kerry merely had to make certain that all the 'i's were crossed and 't's dotted, or something like that. At the same time, he helped us complete the forms that were required and coached us on the best strategies for getting various documents from the City.
The total cost of all his services? About CDN $450.00 including several fees that he merely passed on to us.
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Copyright © 2003, Stanley A. Schultz and Marguerite J. Schultz.
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This page was initially created on 2003-November-09.
The last revision occurred on 2005-December-19.