Canadian Lawyer

June 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 20 of 35 19 YOU'RE INVITED TO eSTATE ACADEMY Keep your estate planning practice up-to-date with a free CPD course taught by estate planning experts at Hull & Hull LLP. Free estate planning video course Online, self-paced, one hour CPD credits through to a resolution. "And even if my client is very reasonable," says Shulman, "it's tough to discern what the other side will do and how much work will go along with that." Gold says that while she is willing to discuss a fixed fee for something such as a divorce, she always adds the caveat that she may need to revisit fees if it looks like the workload will increase. Both lawyers say they understand — espe- cially these days — the need for a process for reviewing a bill and adjusting it or figuring out a payment plan. Shulman says that, under his "modified" hourly rate model, the firm often offers a courtesy discount. "We document time spent, but in the end, it's reviewed and balanced with what has been achieved." Gold says she has looked at options such as reducing hourly rates or coming up with a payment play, especially with those she knows are not making a lot of money yet have been battered by the pandemic. COVID-19, with its lockdowns, layoffs, school closures and people working from home in tight spaces, is bringing some relationship and family issues to a crisis point that ends up in court, says Gold. "I'm not saying COVID-19 caused these breakdowns, but, certainly, it has pushed forward stressors that were already there." Mia Hempey, chief executive officer of Nelligan Law in Ottawa, says that fixed fees have their place in a law firm's pricing model. The firm is now conducting surveys on offering that option in some areas such as employment and labour law. "It seems to me that clients might prefer to have a fixed fee, so they know at the start what the cost is going to be, so we're exploring that now." With labour and employment issues such as a contract review or a severance package review, a fixed fee might be a good option. "These have quicker review times and

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