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Sample Short Form Litigation Cost Estimate Template

Matter: _________________________________

Cost Estimate Period: _____________________



This cost estimate is based on a number of assumptions as follows:


  1. The lawyer and staff time required for each process or procedure cannot be quantified precisely. All estimates are subject to the inherent unpredictability of litigation.  

  2. The process described below may be commenced and interrupted by a settlement discussion. The estimate is based on the number of hours the lawyer estimates each procedure will require based on the hourly rate of the lawyer or staff member who will be required to perform it. Some services require the work of more than one lawyer or staff member. For example, documents prepared for submission to opposing parties and the court are carefully checked by more than one member of the firm, and typically go through several draft versions before completion.  

  3. Services by freelancers who are not employees, partners or associates of the law firm maybe required. Even in simple cases, filing agents are hired for searches, court filing and service of documents.  

  4. This estimate does not include an estimate of the cost of expert reports. In most cases, expert witnesses, such as forensic accountants and valuators are required. Other experts may also be retained depending on the circumstances of the case, including economists, engineering experts, construction experts, real estate appraisers, a document analysts, etc. These skilled professionals charge fees on an hourly basis.  

  5. The hourly rates used in this estimate are:   
  6. Senior Counsel: $____________

    Associate Counsel: $____________

    Junior Counsel: $____________

    Paralegal: $____________ 

    Articling or Summer Student: $____________

    Clerk: $____________

    These hourly rates increase annually by no more than 5%. The time it will take to complete the case is not entirely predictable; therefore, the rates used are for the current year only.


  7. Every lawyer is fully committed to obtaining the best possible result for the client, but the results of litigation may be affected by

    1)         the facts of the case

    2)         how witnesses deliver their evidence at trial

    3)         whose evidence the trial judge prefers, and

    4)         principles of law.


  9. The fees and disbursements are payable regardless of the result unless a special arrangement has been made between the lawyer and the client. Lawyers and clients may make special arrangements for    

1)         fees driven in whole or in part by the result

2)         reduction of fees in the case of an unsatisfactory result, and

3)         a success bonus in the case of a satisfactory result



Fact Investigation                                                                                                       $_________

Case Analysis, Development of Case Strategy                                                       $_________

Experts and Consultants                                                                                           $_________

Offers to Settle, Settlement, and Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)              $_________

Disbursements                                                                                                           $_________  


Pleadings                                                                                                                    $_________

Interim and Interlocutory Motions and Motions without Notice                            $_________

Court Mandated Conferences, Case Management and Mandatory Mediation     $_________

Motions for Final or Summary Judgment                                                                $_________

Appeals from Interim, Interlocutory or Summary Judgment Motions                  $_________

Disbursements                                                                                                           $_________  


Documentary Disclosure and Production                                                                $_________

Examinations for Discovery                                                                                      $_________

Discovery Motions                                                                                                      $_________

Disbursements                                                                                                            $_________  


Fact Witnesses                                                                                                           $_________

Expert Witnesses                                                                                                       $_________

Other Trial Preparation                                                                                              $_________

Pre-trial Hearings                                                                                                       $_________

Attendance at Trial                                                                                                     $_________

Post-Trial Motions and Submissions                                                                       $_________

Enforcement                                                                                                                $_________

Disbursements                                                                                                            $_________  


Appellate Motions and Submissions                                                                       $_________

Appellate Briefs                                                                                                         $_________

Oral Argument                                                                                                           $_________

Disbursements                                                                                                           $_________  

Examples of Disbursements incurred by the lawyer

(Note: Not all disbursements are applicable in every case)   

  • Searches – corporate, title, motor vehicle, drivers licence, PPSA 
  • Filing clerk and agent for searches, filing in court and service of documents 
  • Court Filing fees Application, Statement of Claim, Statement of Defence, etc. 
  • Court filing fees for motions 
  • Photocopies and binding of applications 


TOTAL ESTIMATED COST                                                                                           $_________

HST is added to amounts as required.

The law firm requires a retainer in the amount of $_______________. Interim accounts are submitted at appropriate intervals and are due within 30 days of receipt. The law firm will request that the retainer be refreshed as the case progresses. The failure to pay outstanding accounts or to provide an additional retainer as requested is a justification for the termination of the law firm’s services. Interest is payable on outstanding accounts 30 days after submission at the rate shown at the bottom of the account. 

Terms or Concepts Explained