Tales From a Canadian Attorney: The Challenges of Switching to a Flat Fee Structure

Carli Van Maurik

We’re concluding our posts about billable hours and flat fee structures with another guest post from Carli van Maurik. In today’s article, she shares with you how to combat the challenges of switching to a flat fee pay structure. Welcome back, Carli! 


Moving away from the way things have been done for decades is not easy. Here are some of the challenges I have encountered:

1. Your peers will probably think you are nuts.

Other lawyers, especially the grey haired ones, will probably think you take the short bus to work. They probably won’t be able to wrap their brain around why you are messing with a good thing. In my experience the senior practitioners think that if you want to practice this way you don’t know how the real world works.

2. More work at the front end

It easy to stay the same. It is hard to change. It takes a lot of work to create precedents (which I do as I go), systems, price lists, etc.

3.     Where the #&@^$* do you look for advice?

Not many lawyers are doing this. As a result, it is difficult to get useful advice or mentoring.

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Thanks, Carli!

More about Carli:

Carli van Maurik is a senior business solutions lawyer and joined Whiteboard Law in 2014. Carli was formerly with a highly regarded business law firm located in Victoria, B.C., where she led their Corporate and Commercial Department.

An entrepreneur herself, she recently co-founded an innovative online start-up company.

Ms. Van Maurik is actively involved in the Victoria Advanced Technology Council (VIATeC) and is a booster with VIATeC’s “Accelerate Tectoria” accelerator program where she mentors start-up businesses and appears as a frequent guest speaker.

Carli has extensive experience in a wide range of business law matters including assisting her clients with (technology) start-up formation, debt and equity financing, sophisticated corporate/capital structuring, corporate governance, maintenance and compliance, as well as shareholders agreements. In addition, she regularly assists clients with complex corporatere-organizations and helps by avoiding and solving stakeholder disputes. Other areas of practice include negotiating and preparing share/asset purchase, franchise and licensing agreements. She has extensive experience in structuring corporate entities, societies and not-for-profits, cost-sharing arrangements, joint ventures and partnerships.

Carli has volunteered her time with the Access ProBono Society of British Columbia providing legal advice to low income individuals.  She was sought out to make a guest appearance on a Victoria television show profiling the local business community.  Carli is also an Advisor with ICE which is a resource for helping budding entrepreneurs research and potentially launch a new venture. It is also a resource for very early ventures that have yet to raise outsidemoney (beyond early “friends and family”) and which are now reaching a stage where they need to polish a business plan and become “Investor-Ready”. ICE is an initiative of the Gustavson School of Business on behalf of the University of Victoria.

Carli is a graduate of St. Mary’s University in Nova Scotia and attended law school atDalhouseUniversity where she received the Award of Academic Excellence and was on the Dean’s List for 2002 – 2003.  Carli was called to both the British Columbia Bar and the Nova Scotia Bar in 2007.

Read On:

Want more great advice from Carli? Check out these posts:

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