Law Times' reader poll shows divide between lawyers who like 2020’s lower fees and those who want a more progressive fee scheme
Most respondents for a recent Law Times poll said the Law Society of Ontario should charge certain lawyers (e.g. mid-career, corporate) more. Other groups (e.g. licensing candidates, sole practitioners, lawyers on mat leave) should pay less, said 45.6 per cent of respondents.
The poll, which was not scientific and did not track who had voted, had 68 votes in favour of this more progressive scale of law society fees. The LSO this year lowered regular lawyer fees to $2,066, down from $2,201 in 2019.
Many readers opted to laud the LSO’s existing efforts to lower fees. Fifty-six votes, representing 37.6 per cent of the total, said the LSO has done a good job lowering fees and carving out discounts for certain categories of lawyers. Some government lawyers and educators, as well as non-practising lawyers and legal clinic lawyers, get a 50-per cent reduction in fees each year. Unemployed licensees only pay 25 per cent of the current fee.
Although progressive fees and the existing fee structure were most appealing, a contingent of 22 readers (14.8 per cent) said simply that they preferred an “other” approach. Only 3 readers said they supported raising fees to support better LSO-provided resources.