Residential School Law Firm To Get $40 Million

Monday, May 08, 2006 at 14:03



A lawyer who represents thousands of residential school victims is defending the amount of money his firm will receive under the residential schools compensation agreement.


According to a draft copy of the agreement, the Merchant Law Group will receive $40 million from the government under the deal — half the total being given to lawyers.


Individual residential school victims are expected to receive an average of $30,000 through the common experience payment.


Tony Merchant says his firm has put in $50 million of unbilled time and effort into this file over the years, and likely won’t see any of this cash for at least another year.


Merchant says his firm has assumed a lot of financial risk on behalf of victims — which, he points out, are getting their legal bills paid for by Ottawa.


Merchant also says it’s worth noting his firm is getting less than half of one per cent of what the government is setting aside for this deal — which is much lower than the usual fee of one-third of any settlement.


He adds it’s too soon to say whether his firm would consider donating some of its windfall to the victims.