Retainer Terms and Billing Policies 2023


This retainer is a legal agreement setting our respective obligations in general. Fees, scope of services and obligations concerning your specific matter are set out in a separate email and incorporate these terms. You and us may rely on this agreement if there is a later dispute over billing or scope of services. While it is written in non legal language we suggest that it be shown to someone (besides us) who is a lawyer or has who has experience dealing with lawyers


Fees are based on time spent and our insurance risk. HST and usual disbursements are NOT included in fees and typically add another 25% to an amount billed for fees.

Unless otherwise stated in writing, fees are based on hourly rates as follows:

  • Partner (Samantha Solomon, Sheldon Tenenbaum) $350
  • Of Counsel (Andrew Berk) $350
  • Clerical (Heather Barker, etc.) $150


Disbursements are of three types. 1) out of pocket costs (couriers, bank charges, court fees etc.) incurred on your behalf 2) overhead costs related to your file (photocopies, software expenses, mileage etc.) and 3) special disbursements that because of their large amount need to be separately set out (expert witnesses, title insurance, capacity assessments etc.).

We do not measure every mile, photocopy, scan, long distance charge, stamp and cheque in a file. You agree that we may make reasonable estimates of these disbursements.


We do not bill at regular intervals. We bill on your request or at significant times in your file.


You may dispute your bill with us directly. Typical disputes are that the account exceeds a written quote, that the results achieved were disappointing, that the time docketed was excessive or inaccurate, or you do not wish to pay for other reasons. If such disputes are brought to our attention within 30 days of our account, we will respond. We will want to meet you and show you every email, letter and document that we created or responded to. We will review the retainer contract or email that we sent as it was amended throughout the file to insure the billing rate, and budget is being honoured. If we feel we were wrong, we will correct our mistake and possibly offer even a further reduction for prompt payment. Otherwise we will increase our account for any further time spent arguing with you and for having our account assessed (see below) or otherwise collected.

You can assess our account within 30 days of receiving your final account. Thereafter, we can do so and you cannot without leave (permission) in advance from a Judge. An assessment usually involves one or more visits to a government paid “assessment officer” with authority to resolve the amount of the account and issue a court judgment for amounts found owing. You should review the provisions of the Solicitors Act. The forms used for a court assessment may be found here.

Overhead Disbursements Rates

As of March 2023 and subject to supplier increases.

  • In house copies, faxes, scans – $0.25 / page
  • Mileage $0.50 / kilometer travelled
  • Divorcemate (family law software) $200.00
  • Will Software $200.00
  • Estate Software $200.00
  • Unity Conveyancing software $289.00
  • ACT civil litigation software $250.00
  • Fast Company Incorporation / minute book software $250.00
  • Internal binding and or tabbing – $10/ item
  • Quicklaw legal research software – $10/ item
  • Credit card Payments – 3% of any payments to offset bank charges
  • LawPro Insurance Levy – $150 per court file $65/sale
  • Bank Charges on Wires – $75/ outgoing payment + our bank charge (usually $17.50) on incoming wires
  • Treefort ID verification – $25
  • Remote signing software – $65

File Storage Policy

If we miss an appointment on less than 12 hours emailed or voicemail notice, the appointment or rescheduled appointment will not be billed to the client. If you miss an appointment on less than 12 hours emailed or voicemail notice, we will charge $100. Missed means half an hour or more late. Charges are waived for LAO or socially assisted clients however we consider this a breach of your retainer agreement and may advise that we are terminating our services.

Missed Appointments Policy

If we miss an appointment on less than 12 hours emailed or voicemail notice, the appointment or rescheduled appointment will not be billed to the client. If you miss an appointment on less than 12 hours emailed or voicemail notice, we will charge $100. Missed means half an hour or more late. Charges are waived for LAO or socially assisted clients however we consider this a breach of your retainer agreement and may advise that we are terminating our services.

Budgets, Quotes, Estimates, Typical Costs

All figures exclude hst and disbursements unless otherwise indicated.

Budgets and Quotes will not be exceeded unless they are varied in writing by us. Budgets are based on the progress of a file or lawsuit and Quotes are for a distinct service. Note that if requested or necessary extra work outside the listed services occurs, we may charge extra.

Estimates are what we expect you will be charged based on completion of our intake form and any further requested information.

Typical Costs are what clients with similar situations to yours have been charged in the past. This figure includes disbursements and hst. These may vary from your bill but this is the easiest and quickest number we can provide.

Limitation Periods

In the time between your first contact with our firm and your payment of our retainer and your receipt of an email confirming we are acting for you, we are NOT retained. Time limits for initiating actions (“limitation periods”) or other deadlines may have passed that extinguish your legal rights. Tough luck. Don’t blame us. A summary of Ontario limitation periods is at this link

Complaints and Compliments and Copyright

We value client feedback on how we could have or can in future serve you better. We value compliments. The meter is off (you are not billed) for these discussions. On rare occasions clients have posted complaints about us on or contacted our professional regulator, Law Society of Ontario or our insurer . If this is done, your retainer is at an end and when we become aware of this, you will be asked to pay any outstanding balance and pick up your file. On other occasions, clients post or write thank you and compliments about us. You agree that any comments, complaints or compliments about our services may be used by us for marketing purposes with any personal identifiers removed.

Despite paying for our services, we maintain the copyright in any precedents, drafting, or other works provided to you. You have a license to use these for your matter only and they may not be distributed or reproduced without our express consent.

Joint Retainers

In any retainer with more than one client or where the term “joint retainer” is used, you acknowledge that we have additional obligations that affect our duties of confidentiality and loyalty to you found at the following link:

Identity Verification

You consent to disclosure of personal information (typically your name, email and phone#) to a third party service for purposes of verifying your identity and complying with Law Society of Ontario and FINTRAC requirements. Verification may involve access to your credit file and contacting government agencies to confirm your ID.

Credit Card Payments

We charge a 3% fee in recognition of charges we incur from our provider, Moneris.

Ending the Retainer

You may end the retainer for any reason or no reason upon reasonable notice to us. If you end this retainer while we have outstanding accounts or unbilled work, and want to “pick up your file” or have us incur further costs, we will refuse to do so. We do not keep anything of yours (they are copied and returned to you on an ongoing basis). We will provide a link or attach to an email your productions and suggest you copy these and our emails to any new lawyer. Do not expect us to provide searches and work that were not paid for. We may end the retainer in the following situations:
  1. Outstanding accounts or unfulfilled retainer requests;
  2. Concerns about your identity or authority to instruct on behalf of other persons or corporations;
  3. Professional concerns including “conflict of interest” and illegal or unethical behavior or instructions on your part;
  4. Your making any complaint to our regulator or claim for compensation from us or our insurer;
  5. Your failure to provide requested information or instructions or follow reasonable advice where we indicate our continuing retainer is conditional on same.
When acting as your solicitor of record, we are authorized to communicate the end of our retainer to other parties and file on your behalf a notice that you are no longer represented and that you may be contacted at the most recent address we have for you. Should you not cooperate, any costs (including time at standard rates) will be charged to, and payable by, you.

Other Terms

These retainer terms may be modified by other retainer terms in the following cases:

  1. You are Legally Aided or on social assistance;
  2. You advise that you were referred to us by an EAP or other referral service;
  3. You are buying or selling real estate.

Direction Refunds

You hereby irrevocably direct settlements, refunds, interest on investments held for you and any monies paid or payable to you as a result of our efforts to be made payable to us, in trust. These monies in turn can be used to pay our current and anticipated accounts, protect fees of your prior unpaid lawyers and pay any monies you are required to pay by a court order or agreement. In the event you fail to advise a payor to do so, we may disclose this retainer as evidence of your obligation to us.

Court Costs

In the unlikely event we recover costs in excess of amounts billed, you agree that said excess belongs to us, not you.

Trust Funds

All trust funds are held in a mixed (non interest) account. If instructed to hold trust funds in a separate (interest bearing) account, you acknowledge that the account set up and investment of funds cannot be delegated to a non lawyer and that time spent at the bank, investing and reinvesting funds, reporting and forwarding T5’s will be charged (plus disbursements and HST) at standard lawyer rates.

Limited Scope Retainers (Unbundled Legal Services)

Unless otherwise agreed in writing, if we are not listed as your lawyer on court papers or hired to do just parts of your case, we reserve the right to refuse tasks given to us if we are too busy.

Client Signature Follows



Print Name



Client Testimonials

He’s a great person and a great lawyer he helped me when no one else could and he wasn’t asking for money every second sentence like other lawyers out there. He cared about my case and saved my house and my life and I will always be grateful for what he did.

Tom Somerville – Google Review

Great law firm!

Arya A – Google Review

Experienced, and Knowledgeable lawyers.

Fadi Kazandji – Google Review