I'm confused by what I hear about paralegals — How do I find a qualified, licensed paralegal?
Guidelines for Choosing a Paralegal
- Call a few different paralegals and ask them if they’ll take your case.
- Ask them how much they charge, either per hour, or per case.
- If they offer a free initial consultation, book a meeting with them.
- Ask about their experience with your type of case.
- Ask for a cost estimate of their services for handling your case.
- Ask if you're billed on a monthly basis or at the end of your case.
- Ask if you will have to pay for anything else besides their fee.
Is it true a paralegal charges half what a lawyer charges for the same service?
Lawyers and paralegals set their own fees, based on the services they provide and each has different ways of fee calculation. Both may charge a fixed fee for doing a specific task, such as writing a demand letter or initiating a cause of action. They may also set fees according to the monetary value of your case.
In other legal matters, paralegals and lawyers will keep track of time spent working on your case and they may charge an hourly rate. Disbursements (expenses) such as photocopying, long-distance telephone calls, courier service, acquiring copies of court documents, court filings, retained experts or private investigators are all fully documented in a client’s final statement of services rendered.
Every legal problem is different, so it’s difficult to tell you how much it will actually cost to retain a paralegal. You need to talk about fees when you meet with your paralegal for the first time.
Are professional fees and court costs the same thing?
Legal fees and court costs are two separate costs of proceeding with a Small Claims Court action. Legal fees are the fees and disbursements that you pay to your paralegal for representation. Court costs are the various filing fees that you pay to the Small Claims Court to process documents at the various stages of your case.
The successful party in a proceeding is entitled to receive 100% of their court costs reimbursed to them by the unsuccessful party.
The successful party is also entitled to have a portion of their legal fees reimbursed to them by the unsuccessful party. The judge will ultimately decide what percentage of those fees will be reimbursed. There are various factors that play into a judge's decision with respect to court costs including bad faith proceeding, unprofessional behaviour, etc.