Frequently Asked Questions
PART I - SERVICES OFFERED
Lawyers recognize that even if you work on 20% of a family law matter, you still need 110% knowledge of your client’s matter – including the other party’s version of reality. This poses a significant problem in fee reduction, which is the primary motivation for using limited services.
Rather, interpret “limited scope” as an agreement that the client knows what the lawyer is doing before it’s done. The lawyer doesn’t have a ‘blank cheque’ to do whatever work they think necessary and then bill the client for it.
Coupled with the creative use of reliably cheap technology, the net result is cogent service with the desired cost efficiency.
(1) Just Getting Started Services
• Drafting – or just help in drafting – a cogent and up-to-date financial statement for use in your specific family law situation
• Compiling the supporting documentation for your financial statement, including providing it in a shareable brief format
• Collating a working Financial Disclosure Certificate, listing the documentation provided
• Reviewing drafted documents for completeness and answering any questions you have
(2) ‘Mired in it’ Services
• Advising on the reasonableness of the disclosure demanded of you
• Guidance on further information, documentation or expert witness support you may need to obtain
• Compiling additional disclosure documents that may be requested of, demanded from, or ordered against you
(3) Additional Services not directly related to Disclosure – if requested
• Drafting support calculations for child support and/or spousal support, whether prospective or retrospective, based on the information provided
• Drafting a net family property statement
• Drafting a net family property worksheet
• Compiling a document brief
• Communicating with your own lawyer with respect to coordinating your disclosure obligations
Disclosure Clinic does one job – family law financial disclosure – really well. There is no ‘upsell’ for further representation, in or out of court.
If you need a formal property, business or income valuation, you can be provided referrals to qualified, competent professionals that specializes in such services. Disclosure Clinic is a legal service whereas these professionals create their own evidence for you – expert opinion evidence.
A referral is just a name for you to contact. Disclosure Clinic receives absolutely no kickbacks or any other financial incentives for referrals.
Helping both parties is called a Joint Retainer.
Some things are worth having: the space for personal, confidential contemplation and open discussion about your finances for family law purposes. While it’s possible to have two parties as clients, you would each be waiving basic confidentiality and legal privilege protections between you. As such, Disclosure Clinic chooses not to accept joint retainers.
For mediation professionals looking to refer clients to Disclosure Clinic, just email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss which client can have more benefit of the service.
Frequently Asked Questions
PART II - FEES
The initial consultation is a fixed flat rate that is between the two continuing services rates.
The consultation is about quickly identifying your legal issues and starting the work you need to get you going on your financial disclosure. It’s about practical advice on your financial statement in whatever state it’s in, answering your questions and, as needed, starting on your to-do list.
For those looking to engage in continuing services after the consultation, billing is on an hourly rate basis. As with other legal professionals, the hourly rate is calculated in 6 minute increments:
● If you are not in a court proceeding or arbitration, and just need help with finishing up your disclosure, you qualify for the lower hourly rate of $200.00 /h inclusive of any tax.
● If you are in a court proceeding or arbitration, OR if you ask for services not strictly about disclosure, the rate is $295.00/h inclusive of any tax.
The higher rate reflects the extra priority required for those in a court process and legal advice, usually tied to imposed deadlines.
Payments can be made by Interac bank transfer to email@example.com, or by credit card via a secure payment portal.
Unlike other legal services, you are not asked for *any* money upfront or held in trust. This accommodation reduces bookkeeping requirements and in turn, the cost of legal services. In consideration,
a. The initial consultation is billed upon its conclusion and payable within 3 days.
b. Continuing Services are billed and collected weekly.
c. If you request. you will have online access to a running total of fees, as incurred.
d. Payment can be made by Interac email transfer OR by credit card via a PayPal portal (you do not need a Paypal account to use).
See Additional Terms of Service below regarding further fee policies.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
PART III - OTHER QUESTIONS ASKED AND ANSWERED
Additional Terms of Service
a. Your services are provided consistent with the timelines you need them provided in, and, if that timeline cannot be met, to be reasonably advised.
b. That your correspondence to Disclosure Clinic will be acknowledged and returned as quickly as reasonably possible within normal business hours, or otherwise reasonably advised.
c. That, within the limits of the use of technology agreement below, to ensure your communications remain confidential and protected by solicitor-client privilege.
As these services are limited in scope, you remain responsible for all aspects of your family law legal matter, except those specifically assigned to Disclosure Clinic as confirmed in writing.
In addition, you must:
a. not assume Disclosure Clinic is assisting you with any part of your family law situation or proceeding, if any, apart from what is specifically confirmed.
b. comply with all reasonable requests for information about you or the state of your family law matter.
c. provide Disclosure Clinic with copies of correspondence or documents relevant to your case if asked;
d. immediately notify Disclosure Clinic of any pending negotiations, conferences, hearings, deadlines (either contractual or imposed by a court), or other court events that may affect your expectations of our schedule of work;
e. review and re-evaluate all information provided by Disclosure Clinic to ensure continuing accuracy;
f. advise of any concerns you may have regarding your case or the services provided; and
g. immediately notify of any changes to your contact information.
1. See FAQ II above for general fee policies.
2. For continuing services, time is recorded in increments of one tenth of an hour, as is current industry standard.
3. Time spent on telephone calls and responding to e-mails will be billed, unless advised otherwise.
4. In addition to legal fees, if you instruct, or agree to in advance, to incur expenses (also called disbursements) that result from work on your matter then you agree to pay for, or reimburse for, such expenses. Disbursements specifically include expenses such as the cost of obtaining documents like property parcels, car value estimates, mail and courier charges, process server fees (if any). You will not be billed for communication costs such as phone, fax, or online services.
5. If you have a question or concern as to a fee or disbursement charged to you, please email me and we will mutually address it before the upcoming payment period.
1. Disclosure Clinic uses cloud-based programs to communicate and store client files and records, including free online services such as Google (Gmail, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Forms, Hangouts, etc.), Zoom, Whatsapp, SMS, Facetime and the like. Some of these programs use servers located outside of Canada.
3. Disclosure Clinic assures that the information in our control will be as secure as possible, including use and periodic change of complex passwords, two-factor identification and the like. In turn, we commit to cease using such services and promptly move/delete any existing information if the service provider cannot assure reasonable privacy expectations, or is known to be compromised.
4. You can request that we provide you with, and/or delete, your information at any time.
5. You are likewise responsible for choosing the technology you wish to communicate with us, and assume the related risks. You are strongly advised not to use an employer’s email address for personal communications.
6. Confidentiality: All information you provide to Disclosure Clinic will be kept strictly private and confidential. The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act gives you rights concerning the privacy of your personal information, and we will ensure they are protected while in our control. Only you have the power to decide if the information you share with us will also be shared with others, unless we are obligated to do so pursuant to a statute (whether in Canada or elsewhere), court order (if justified) or the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct.
1. Your Dismissal: You can end Disclosure Clinic services at any time by written notice which will take effect when your notice is received. Unless we specifically agree otherwise, no further services will be provided to you after receipt of the notice. Notwithstanding the dismissal, you understand and agree that you will remain obligated to pay the agreed rate for all services that provided prior to being dismissed.
2. Our Withdrawal: Disclosure Clinic may withdraw at any time subject to restrictions imposed by the Law Society of Ontario’s Rules of Professional Conduct and/or the Family Law Rules, as may be applicable. Circumstances can include:
a. You consent to our withdrawal;
b. You mislead us in a material way;
c. You instruct us to do something that is prohibited by the Rules of Professional Conduct;
d. Our continuing to act would be unethical or impractical, including the circumstance where our relationship is discovered to create a conflict of interest.
e. Your conduct renders it unreasonably difficult for us to carry out the services effectively;
f. You fail to cooperate with us in any reasonable request;
g. You fail to communicate with us on a timely basis;
h. There is a serious loss of confidence between us; or
i. You fail to pay our fees or expenses.
3. Upon the end of services under this agreement, and upon your request, we will archive all of your electronic documentation. The archive will be securely stored for a period of no less than 6 years, unless you instruct us earlier to delete them.