When you first meet with your lawyer, or soon afterwards if you decide to hire them, your lawyer should give you information about:
- their legal fees and how they are calculated
- interest charged if you do not pay your bill on time
- out-of-pocket expenses (disbursements).
A lawyer must not charge or accept a fee or disbursement, including interest, unless it is fair and reasonable and has been disclosed in a timely fashion. ( Rule 3.6-1 Code of Professional Conduct for NS Lawyers)
Do not be afraid to ask questions. You need to have a good, professional working relationship with your lawyer, and that includes being comfortable talking about the expected costs involved, and bills you get. Lawyers have an obligation to explain the basis of fees and disbursements they charge.
Tight budget? Ask your lawyer about flexible fee arrangements like flat fees, a contingency fee, or a Limited Scope Retainer.
Below are the most common ways that lawyers charge for their work, and steps you can take if you have a dispute about your lawyer's bill.