This Div is a JS Trigger
Issue 58 | July 2019

LIANSWERS

This newsletter includes information to help lawyers reduce the likelihood of being sued for malpractice. The material presented is not intended to establish, report, or create the standard of care for lawyers. The articles do not represent a complete analysis of the topics presented, and readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
Beat the clock: Docketing your time

It happens to all lawyers in private practice at least once – a client disputes your bill and taxes your account. You billed an amount the client argues is excessive, was not agreed, etc.

When taxing an account, the taxing authority looks at a variety of factors including (i) the time spent on the matter, (ii) its legal complexity; (iii) the degree of responsibility assumed by the lawyer; (iv) the monetary value of the matter; (v) the importance of the matter to the client; (vi) the degree of skill and competence demonstrated by the solicitor; (vii) result achieved; (viii) the ability of the client to pay; and (ix) the reasonable expectation of the client as to the amount of fees.

Something that is always helpful to the person assessing your account, and it follows you, are time dockets. Not having proper time dockets is an issue that often comes up in taxations and can have an adverse effect on your account. As recently stated by the Ontario Court of Appeal,

The quantity of time spent does not solely determine the fairness or reasonableness of the account…Since time is only one factor to consider in determining the reasonableness of the bill, a fee, although reduced, may nevertheless be allowed even if not all time is docketed, provided there is other evidence available…to support the fairness and reasonableness of the bill.  That said, the failure of a solicitor to keep proper time dockets may justify a significant reduction in the assessed account.

Review Professional Real Estate Standards #3: Timekeeping and #5: Retention and billing