Legal Fees Increase (Not Ours)

Canadian Lawyer magazine has published its annual survey of legal fees for 2020. Please note these results may be prior to COVID19 and the pandemic. Here at Clarke Immigration Law, we have continued to provide flexible payment plans to our clients and we want to provide support to folks who are struggling financially. Legal Fees

The key finding from the 2020 survey is simply that legal fees across Canada are going up. The increase varies depending on the region and the area of law. We have published extensively on legal fees over the years and we have done our best to dispel many myths, including the false claim that Immigration Consultants are cheaper. We have reviewed many invoices from representatives and consultants charging clients very high fees. For example, we represented a family on a Spousal Sponsorship Appeal at the IRB-IAD and our fees, as published, were $6,500. This family had retained a consultant who initially told them she would charge $4,000; however, then she advised that due to the “complexity” of the issues, she needed an extra $4,000 so her total fees would be $8,000. So they fired her. Good decision. In the end, we won and I advised that they sue their former consultant in Small Claims Court.

I have published our review on the Legal Fees for 2019 on this site. I have also published some posts on reports of clients who have been grossly overcharged and they are the victims of abuse. I have also compared our fees with other Canadian law firms who publish their fees online. As noted by Canadian Lawyer Magazine:

Significantly more survey respondents reported they’d be raising their fees this year than last — 53 per cent, which is nearly 10-per-cent higher than said the same in 2019. For 45 per cent, fees will remain the same as 2019. Only 1.2 per cent indicated they were lowering fees in 2020, but that is an increase from 2019, when zero respondents reported dropping their fees.

Whether the slowdown in the economy caused by the pandemic will cause a shift in legal spending remains to be seen.

Higher overhead was the most common reason respondents gave for a decision to raise fees, followed by inflation and then increased complexity. For the small number who lowered fees, it was competition and the economy that motivated the decision.

If you read this space, you know that the fees at Clarke Immigration Law are based on our professional experience working at the largest immigration law firm on Bay Street in Toronto, Ontario, fees from Legal Aid Ontario and the private bar in Ontario, as well as fees from other private law firms in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Unfortunately, we have seen many cases of significant unethical billing practices from lawyers and consultants. Very poor billing practices. For these reasons, we are focused on providing the best services and being 100% transparent with our legal fees.

To be clear, our fees will not be increasing for 2020. We continue to believe that our fees are fair, based on the work done of the files. You can read our reviews on Google (4.9 stars out of 5). Our clients are incredibly supportive and they recognize the high quality of work.

Here is the above information in a clear chart for 2020, including fees for CLARKE IMMIGRATION LAW and the fees published by Canadian Lawyer Magazine for Western Canada:

SERVICES OUR FEES FEES – WESTERN AVERAGE
Work Permit $1,800 $2,061
Family Class sponsorship $5,500 $5,200
Skilled Worker Application $5,500 $6,388
Refugee Protection Claim starting at $3,500 $5,750

As you can see, our clients receive quality services at very competitive prices for Western Canada.

WARNING: I want to warn clients from a common practice. I have seen many immigration lawyers & consultants provide clients a low initial quote for services. For example, they will ask for $800 to open a file for a Work Permit at the beginning. Then, they will start to work on the application and they will demand an additional $2000 to continue work. Ultimately, clients are the victims.