We have heard from some clients who prefer to hire a lawyer in their local neighbourhood. “It is so much more convenient,” they tell us. “There is free parking,” they tell us. All of this is true but there are hidden costs to your local neighbourhood lawyer that are included in our fees at Smith & Little LLP.
Our office is conveniently located right across the street from the Courthouse. This is an inconvenience to you unless you work downtown. When you come to see us for your appointments, you will have to pay expensive downtown parking rates that no one likes to pay. However, when I have to go to Court on your matter I will charge you only for my expertise and services. I will not charge you my parking at the Courthouse (expensive downtown parking). I will not charge you for my time travelling to and from the Courthouse (if you have read our other blogs you know we do not charge by the hour anyway, but most lawyers do). When something unexpected comes up on your file and we have to run in and see a Judge right away, or run to the Courthouse to get a document filed on an urgent basis for your file, or have to run to the Courthouse to do a search of your Court file, we can do so with relative ease and 10 minutes before the Courthouse closes – we are right across the street. We may also have to attend settlement meetings, mediation sessions or arbitration sessions, most of which are all held downtown as most of the professionals involved in these matters are located downtown. Legal services are expensive – you do not need to pay extra for your lawyer to travel to all of the places that she needs to go to represent you.
The truth is I will have to go to the Courthouse on your file more often than you will have to come for an in-person meeting at our office. Because we are located Downtown and most meetings, court appearances and other places we need to go to do our jobs are also conveniently located Downtown, you will find that we are in our office more often than if we were located in Airdrie. What this means is that you can reach us and we can be responsive to your questions. You will not call our office to be told that we are in the car travelling to and from Court.
At least 50% of the lawyers that we deal with on a regular basis on the other side of files are also located in downtown Calgary. This means that if we need to have a settlement meeting with the other lawyer or otherwise see that lawyer, there is limited travel time involved. Most frequently, we send couriers with documents to the other lawyer’s office. A courier within the Downtown Core is less than $3.00. If you are located in Airdrie and have to send a courier to the opposing party’s downtown lawyer, the charge would be $10.00 to $20.00. These charges may seem small, but they do add up. It is simply more centralized and more convenient, which translates into less expensive for you to have your matter dealt with within the downtown core.