Should Law Society Fees Be Progressive?

Recently lawyer Elsa Ascencio @elsaasce tweeted about the Law Society fee structure. In her initial tweet she pointed out that the fees prevent her from servicing her clients.

In response, many lawyers chimed in. Jessica Prince @jesshwprince tweeted that the barristers in England and Wales have a progressive fee structure based on last year’s earnings. Lawyer Rob Kittredge @RobKittredge pointed out that the annual fees in some American states range from around $100 to $535. “Illinios: $99. Minnesota: $114-$250. NY $60-$275. California: $535. Florida: $265. Colorado: $325.”

Elsa has started a petition to change the fee structure. To learn more: click here 

I agree with Elsa that the Law Society fees should be progressive. However, if the Law Society institutes a progressive fee structure, then how do we verify the accuracy of lawyers’ earnings, especially given the increase in professional corporations?

(Views expressed are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization.)


  1. I am a California-licensed attorney, currently articling to be called to the bar in BC. My annual bar fee in California is $708 (converted to Canadian currency), while my annual fee to the bar in BC (after I am called) will be around $4,060.

    One clear source of the difference between the two fees is that, in BC, compulsory professional liability insurance is covered in the bar fees. Subtracting the insurance premium, the BC bar fees reduce to $2,260. Which means, apples to apples, I will be paying 3 times to hold a bar license in BC than what I pay in California.

    Not being a member of the bar, I can’t tell yet if the LSBC provides three times as much service – to society and to its members – than that provided by the California bar. But I will be watching and making notes!

  2. Comparing US State Bar Associations with Canadian Provincial Law Societies is always a little tricky. For example when it comes to discipline my understanding is the California Bar plays an investigative role but actual discipline, certainly disbarment, comes from the State Bar Court which is not an entity whose members are elected by attorneys. E&O or Malpractice insurance have also to be only very carefully compared apples to apples. The good news Rahul R. is that BC won’t make you send them your fingerprints!