Categories
Legal Fees

Paperwork, Practitioners and Panties

Some years ago I went off on a cruise and took the opportunity to have some renovations done at my house while I was away. George did a great job on the drywall, but when he sent me the invoice, he made one tiny little mistake. Instead of giving me the invoice for the construction work, he sent me an invoice for his “other business” which, unbeknownst  to me, was producing racy videos. He was quite embarrassed when I asked him what a “panty teaser” was and what it had to do with my ceiling. I never did find out whether my house was the setting for his cinematographic masterpiece.

Categories
Legal Fees

Let’s play Jeopardy: I’ll take ‘Expert in Ottawa’ for $300

When I practised law in Mississauga, Ont., our fees were cheap compared to the Toronto firms, and kind of expensive compared to firms in places like Guelph, Belleville and Kingston. I occasionally wondered whether my clients might prefer to deal with firms in smaller cities at lower rates. Then I would reassure myself that doing so would be terribly inconvenient for them and that they would rather pay more to deal with me.

Now I am not so sure.

Categories
Legal Fees

Evolution of the Billing Committee (Sounds Dull, But it Isn’t)

Categories
Legal Fees

The Quebec Shuffle

Many years ago, Maurice called me to complain about a legal bill that he had received. Fortunately, it was not me who had drawn his ire, although I was his primary legal counsel.

Maurice’s accountant had convinced him to go to a meeting with Peter, a very sophisticated tax lawyer, to discuss something called the ‘Quebec Shuffle.’

Categories
Legal Fees

Breaking The Rules

Near the end of my career, at a time when I frequently congratulated myself (since no one else would listen) about how brilliant I was at dealing with clients, I lost a long-standing client who I will call Charles. I should have fired Charles years before and was holding onto for some twisted sentimental reason.

Categories
Legal Fees

Who’s Zooming Who?

Long ago, when it came to billing, lawyers addressed precedents in one of two ways:

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Legal Fees

Racing to the Bottom of the Legal Profession

Many of you will be familiar with the old saying (sometimes attributed to John Adams and other times to Winston Churchill) to the effect that “if you are not a socialist at age 20, you have no heart, but if you are still a socialist at age 30, you have no brain.”

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Legal Fees

Docketing For Dummies

I never met a lawyer who loved to docket their time, but I have met a number of lawyers (myself included) who were very good at it.  I met many, many more lawyers who were not so good at it. 

Maybe someday we will be completely rid of the billable hour, but even if that comes to pass, it will still be important for lawyers to be able to analyze how they are spending their time, if only to understand how to set fixed fees.

So, there we are. We all hate docketing. We all need to be good at it.  Here it is. Fully explained. In small words. At last. 

Categories
Legal Fees

Playing The Price is Wrong

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” is a quote frequently attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Quite true, but it is more complicated than that when we are dealing with things, such as legal services, that the consumer often does not understand.

Categories
Legal Fees

The Litigator’s Dream Client

Back in grade two, the class bully and I got hauled off the principal’s office who demanded to know why we were fighting in the school yard. I explained, “he said shut up. I said make me. He was making me.”  I learned fairly early in life that our words and actions have consequences.