Reporting time and method is at the discretion of the client, but we are committed to timely reporting on all types of matters. For example, in dispute resolution and litigation matters, all correspondence, incoming and outgoing, is copied to the responsible individuals at the client and opinion letters are regularly prepared and delivered to ensure the client has a comprehensive set of options, with recommendations, in order to provide instructions. We are available for communication by telephone, email, fax, letter or face to face, and interim or final reporting may be undertaken by any of these means, at the discretion of the client.
Client satisfaction is monitored by regular inquiries concerning the client's views. Where desired, the firm is open to the creation of more formalized feedback mechanisms to meet specific client needs, such as regular, standardized written feedback questionnaires or regular meetings with the responsible individuals.
In addition to our firm law library, the lawyers are members of the Waterloo Region Law Association and have access to the extensive literature collection (both electronic and paper) contained in the Association Law Library. The library has an experienced full time librarian, Amanda Fudge, who also has access to the collections of all 47 County & District law libraries in Ontario, including the Great Library at Osgoode Hall, arguably the most up to date law library in Ontario (save and except the library in Ottawa at the Supreme Court of Canada).
The firm also has direct access to Westlaw, an extensive online case law database of case law from all Canadian jurisdictions, and up-to-date practice manuals, as well as electronic databases in the United States.
In addition, we also have access to the Ontario and Federal government websites, such as the Ontario Attorney General's consolidated statute and regulation website and the numerous Federal and Provincial websites providing information on recent court decisions, statutory and regulatory law.
The lawyers regularly attend continuing legal education seminars and courses, particularly those provided by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Occasionally, client matters arise in which it is not appropriate that we act or continue to act (for example, due to the size or specialized nature of the project in relation to our resources). We maintain an informal network of other professionals, both locally and province-wide, including friendly relationships with former employers and partners, to ensure that clients are connected to reliable and experienced professional advice in a timely manner.
Our normal billing practice is to invoice at the lawyer's hourly rate for time spent on a matter. Accounts are sent monthly in a detailed format for time spent on the matter, plus all reasonable disbursements. We invoice for all legal work, including drafting, meetings, court or tribunal appearances, telephone attendances and legal research, but not for any work relating to firm administration.
Travel time for destinations outside the Waterloo Region is billed at one-half the normal hourly billing rate. If there are out of town expenses, such as hotels or meals, they are charged to the client.
There is a file opening fee, which covers access to legal research tools and other annual licensing fees incurred by our firm. Disbursements are charged out at competitive rates for actual long distance telephone charges, registration and filing fees, expert reports, title search services, and mileage, fax, photocopying and printing charges and courier charges. All internal disbursements are tracked electronically and posted directly to the client matter number. All external disbursements are charged at the rate charged to the firm, without surcharge. Every effort is made to keep disbursements minimal, such as engaging external photocopying firms for large jobs. Extraordinary or special disbursements (such as the use of experts, long distance travel or external counsel) are discussed and preauthorized with the client.
We are able to deliver invoices in a number of formats, including work done, timekeeper, hourly rate, date and time spent. We are easily able to accommodate any special requests for variations in billing frequency or manner.
Special rates are available for Small Claims Court matters (claims or defences involving less than $25,000.00).
We normally require clients to sign a written retainer agreement.
We encourage our clients to discuss any concerns about any account rendered in any matter. Please contact us for further details.
Melville, Krotz Lawyers is committed to providing an accessible and inclusive environment in which all persons have equal access to its services, in accordance with the Accessibility Standards for Customer Service regulations made under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005. To that end, we will take steps to ensure that any person with a disability who visits our office or accesses our services will be able to do so in a manner that respects their dignity and independence. A full copy of our Accessibility Policy is available upon request.