Canadian Lawyer

May 2020

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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www.canadianlawyermag.com 15 time spent and the complexity of the matter, says Eric Gossin, who recently joined Devry Smith Frank LLP and practises corporate and commercial law, estates and real estate. Over the years, clients have become more sophisti- cated and this has impacted their willingness to pay, Gossin says, adding that, now more than before, expectations need to be set at the outset and clients need to know the criteria applied to their bill. "When realistic expectations are set at the beginning, there's less resistance from the clients to paying. That's almost a cliché, but that's exactly been the experience," he says. With the rise in client sophistication comes the rise of value billing. Hussein Hamdani, a partner at Simpson Wigle LAW LLP in Hamilton, Ont., says that, along with hourly rates, his firm always considers and incorporates the value that work is worth to the client. "We rarely look at just docketed time as our billings," says Hamdani, who practises corpo- rate commercial law, focusing on commercial and residential real estate. "Sometimes, it's lower; most of the time, it's higher than the actual docketed time." Crease Harman uses the billable hour, including in litigation, where Hallsor says the firm prefers it over contingency fees and other methods. In some solicitors' areas, the firm offers flat-rate billing as well. Hourly rate billing has its critics. In 2019, Raymond Wagner, a personal injury lawyer who practises in Halifax, told Canadian Lawyer that the billable hour can prolong trials via unnecessary motions and requests for disclosure and discovery. One of this year's survey respondents agrees, leaving the comment: "I firmly believe AVERAGE HOURLY RATES 1 YEAR OR LESS National $332 West $215 East $374.50 Ontario $446 2 TO 5 YEARS National $427 West $281 East $457 Ontario $573 6 TO 10 YEARS National $580 West $362 East $647 Ontario $789 11 TO 20 YEARS National $681 West $455 East $641 Ontario $909 MORE THAN 20 YEARS National $1,616 West $475 East $648 Ontario $2,939 "When realistic expectations are set at the beginning, there's less resistance from the clients to paying. That's almost a cliché, but that's exactly been the experience." Eric Gossin, Devry Smith Frank LLP 1-866-685-3311 | www.mcleishorlando.com

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