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Judge slashes elderly client’s legal bill, says lawyer ‘was obviously making it all up as he went along’

A Toronto judge has drastically reduced an elderly woman’s six-figure legal bill after finding her lawyer was unable to explain how he reached the amount.

“None of the respondent’s figures are credible; he was obviously making it all up as he went along,” Superior Court Justice Edward Morgan wrote in a July decision about the fee lawyer Lawrence Sax charged 92-year-old Eileen Newell.

The judge also chastised the hearings officer at the Toronto assessment office, who had originally adjudicated the dispute over the legal bill, finding she demonstrated “inexplicable animus” toward Newell.

With Morgan’s decision, Newell saw the $165,000 fee – which worked aout to about $2,000 an hour for what her lawyer claimed was 75 hours of work handling the sale of a commercial building – cut down to just over $26,000.

Newell had first taken her case against Sax to the assessment office, which handles disputes between lawyers and clients over their legal bills. Morgan was ciritcal of the handling of Newell’s file by assessment officer Angelique Palmer.

“The assessment officer states candidly that ‘solicitor determined what his fees should be based on criteria that could not be demonstrated or explained to the court,'” Morgan wrote.

Read more: Judge slashes elderly client’s legal bill, says lawyer ‘was obviously making it all up as he went along’

First published at http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/news/judge-slashes-elderly-clients-legal-bill-says-lawyer-was-obviously-making-it-all-he-went-along

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