Terms Of Engagement
Our fees are generally based on the hourly rates of our lawyers, paralegals, assistants and articled students who perform services on your behalf.
In the course of determining our fees, we consider the following:
- The time and effort required
- The complexity of the issues raised
- The level of skill required
- Fees typically charged for similar services in Vancouver
- The benefit of our services to you
- The amount of money or value of the property involved
- The results achieved
- Any time constraints
- The experience, reputation and expertise of the lawyers performing the services
- Our success in achieving your goals
Our time and effort required are typically the most relevant factors. We maintain accurate records of the time we devote to your matter, including discussions and conferences (both in person, over the telephone, fax and email), negotiations (where required) with third parties, fact gathering, legal research and analysis, document preparation and revision, travel on your behalf and other related matters. Our time is recorded in units of tenths of an hour. The hourly rates of our lawyers and legal assistants have an important bearing on the fees we charge. These rates are adjusted annually to reflect current levels of legal experience, changes in market conditions and other factors.
Estimates And Budgets
When we are requested to estimate the amount of fees and expense likely to be incurred in connection with a particular matter, we base our estimate upon our professional judgment, but always with a clear understanding that it is not a maximum or guaranteed fixed-fee quotation. We will normally provide a range of the possible fees and expense involved. This estimated range is based upon our experience and our understanding that it is not a maximum or guaranteed fixed-fee quotation. Actual legal fees can vary based upon a number of factors, including altered instructions, the scope of engagement and the positions taken by other parties. In addition to fees, you will be responsible for all disbursements and taxes payable.
We will send you periodic, generally monthly statements of account unless otherwise agreed upon, so that you will be aware of the ongoing cost of our services.
For certain well-defined services, we may be able to quote a fixed fee. It is our policy not to accept engagements on a fixed-fee basis except in defined service areas or pursuant to a special arrangement tailored to the needs of a particular client. In all such situations, the flat-fee arrangement will be expressed in a letter, setting forth both the amount of the fee and the specific nature of the services to be provided.
We charge our clients not only for the legal services rendered, but also for the expense that we incur in providing our services. Examples include long distance telephone calls, courier charges and court filing fees. We do not charge at this time for incidental photocopying and printing. We will normally ask our clients to pay directly any large disbursement that is in excess of $500. We reserve the right to require funds to pay a disbursement or to ask that a disbursement be paid directly by our client.
Retainer And Trust Deposits
Clients of our firm are commonly requested to provide us with a retainer payable to “Overholt Law LLP in TRUST.” If you provide a retainer to us, you grant us a security interest in the retainer. Unless otherwise agreed, the retainer will be credited toward our accounts when rendered or when unpaid. Additional retainers may be requested when the retainer has been depleted. We reserve the right to request that the retainer be replenished or increased in the course of our engagement. You will be notified from time to time of the amounts applied or withdrawn from the retainer paid. Any unused portion of the retainer will be paid to you upon the completion of our services.
All trust deposits we receive from you, including retainers, will be deposited to our trust account for your benefit. Your deposit will be placed in a non-interest bearing pooled account unless you request an interest earning account. There is a set fee for the opening of an interest earning account. Interest earned in the interest earning trust account will be added to the deposit for your benefit and is considered taxable income.
At the end of our engagement, it is our practice to provide a final report with a reconciliation of trust funds deposited and disbursed.
Termination Of Services
You may terminate our representation at any time, with or without cause, by notifying us. Our physical and electronic files related to our services will be retained by us. You are entitled to receive copies of documents you or third parties may have provided to us subject to payment of our copying expense. The termination of our services will not affect your liability for payment for legal services rendered and any additional charges incurred before termination, and for any charges made in order to effect an orderly transition of the matter to you or other legal counsel. We are subject to a Code of Professional Conduct. The Code lists the circumstances that allow or require us to withdraw from representing a client, including for example: nonpayment of fees or costs, misrepresentation or failure to disclose material facts, action contrary to our advice, and conflict of interest with another client. We try to identify in advance and discuss with our client any situation which may lead to our withdrawal and if withdrawal becomes necessary written notice is given to the client. If it is necessary that we withdraw our representation, it will not affect your liability for any unpaid or unbilled fees or disbursements that may be outstanding as at the date of such withdrawal.
Our physical and electronic files may be destroyed by us six years after the termination of our engagement.
Billing Arrangements And Terms Of Payment
We render accounts on a regular basis, normally monthly unless otherwise agreed, for both fees and disbursements. A detailed account for the work performed by the lawyer, paralegal, student and legal assistant along with a description of the charges will be provided with each billing unless other arrangements are agreed. Our accounts are payable upon request. Costs or disbursements incurred by us during a particular billing period and not included in the account rendered for that billing period will be included in a subsequent account.
Unpaid fees and disbursements accrue interest at 18 percent per year. We will give you prompt notice if your account is not paid within the 30-day period. If the account remains unpaid and you do not arrange for payment in a timely way, we will withdraw as your legal counsel from the engagement and, if necessary, pursue collection of the account. You will be responsible for interest on overdue accounts and collection costs.
Your Right To Contest Fees
We are always open to discussion about billing and how our fees are determined. A disagreement about our fees should be discussed with us. In the event the fee dispute cannot be resolved, you have the right to have the account reviewed before the Registrar of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
If you prefer to be notified when our work in progress reaches a specific dollar level, in order to be continuously aware of the nature of fees being incurred, please let us know. We are also prepared to outline the nature of anticipated legal expense involved so that you can budget accordingly. We want to ensure that our fees are fair, reasonable and consistent with your expectations.
It is our policy that the lawyer-client relationship will be considered terminated upon the completion of any services that you have retained us to perform. If you later retain us to perform further or additional services, our lawyer-client relationship will be revived subject to these terms of engagement, as they may be amended from time to time.
Contact The Team At Overholt Law LLP
To contact the lawyers at Overholt Law LLP, please call 778-653-7561 or 877-296-1161. You may also contact our team online to schedule your consultation. The firm is located in Vancouver, and our lawyers represent clients located throughout BC and beyond. We have the skills to undertake work for clients based in international locations for their legal issues that arise in British Columbia.