Canadian Lawyer

June 2009

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Th e going rate Canadian Lawyer's 2009 legal fees survey shows many sole practitioners and small fi rms have lowered their prices since last year. according to Canadian Lawyer's 2009 legal fees survey. Th is year's survey once again looked at 26 fees charged S across eight practice areas. Th ese practice areas are civil liti- gation, corporate, criminal, family, immigration, intellectual property, real estate, and wills and estates. In addition, Cana- dian Lawyer wanted to know whether the change in the econ- omy has led lawyers to lowering their fees, keeping them the same, or raising them. Th e results are broken down nationally and across three re- gions of the country, Ontario, Western Canada, and Quebec and Atlantic Canada. Th e survey is also broken down by size of offi ce: four lawyers or less, fi ve to 25 lawyers, and 26 or more lawyers. Th e fees listed in each chart represent average amounts. For example, the minimum fee of a bail hearing is the aver- age fee charged by respondents and doesn't necessarily rep- resent the lowest amount recorded. Some respondents may not have indicated their province or fi rm size, therefore their answers are included in the national fees ranges charts but not in the regional breakouts. 32 JUNE 2009 www. C ANADIAN Law ye rmag.com 32 JUNE 2009 www. C ANADIAN Law ye rmag.com ole practice lawyers and those from smaller offi ces may be feeling the pinch of the slowing economy, with many of the average fees they charge down from a year ago, As is the tradition of previous legal fees surveys, more than 70 per cent of respondents came from sole practice or smaller fi rms of less than 25 lawyers. In all, 193 lawyers answered our survey. Th is year's survey had one major diff erence from those in the past, a broader national focus. In 2008 more than 70 per cent of respondents came from Ontario, this year the percent- age of lawyers from Canada's largest province fell below 60 per cent. Making up the diff erence were more than 32 per cent of responses coming from Western Canada. A regional focus is important because diff erent parts of the country can mean drastically diff erent fees. "We fi nd [the] Maritime market expects corporate commercial services to be priced about 50 per cent of Toronto rates," one respondent commented. More than half the lawyers surveyed said they would be keep- ing fees the same or lowering them in 2009. Meanwhile, nearly 48 per cent of those surveyed said they will raise fees this year. Th e average reduction in fees is between fi ve and 10 per cent, while the average increase is between zero and fi ve per cent. Reduced average fees showed up in 18 of the 26 catego- ries nationally. Th ese included areas of civil action appeals, corporate secured fi nance agreements, contested divorce, BY KELLY HARRIS

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