How do I find a lawyer? Finding the right lawyer is very important. Here are a few ways to get started:
It is important to find a lawyer who practices the type of law related to your situation. For example, for assistance with the immigration process, you need a lawyer who practices immigration law. You might also want to find a lawyer who speaks your first language.
Most lawyers will offer a free consultation. They will briefly listen to your problem and tell you if they are qualified to help you. A lawyer must tell you if he or she cannot help with your particular problem.
You should also feel comfortable with your choice of lawyer. If you don't feel comfortable after the consultation, call another lawyer.
Directory of Certified Specialists
The Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC), the governing body for Ontario lawyers, has created a directory of lawyers in Ontario who meet certain standards and reputation.
The Certified Specialist Program recognizes members of the Law Society who have met established standards of experience and knowledge requirements in specific areas of law and have maintained exemplary standards of professional practice.
Find out more about the Specialist Program and view a list of lawyers in specific categories.
When you go see a lawyer, you should ask for an estimate of what the work will cost. Fees vary. Sometimes, you pay a set fee for a particular task; other lawyers charge an hourly rate.
You may also have to pay disbursements. This is what lawyers charge to cover expenses, such as the cost of faxing, photocopying or ordering official documents on your behalf.
If you cannot pay for a lawyer:
You can find more information on legal aid programs and Community Legal Clinics.
Lawyer Referral Service (LRS)
The Lawyer Referral Service (LRS) can give you the phone number of a lawyer in your area who practises the type of law related to your situation. You can also ask the LRS to find a lawyer who speaks your first language.
You can call the lawyer for a consultation of up to 30 minutes. During this consultation, you can ask:
You do not have to hire this person as your lawyer. You cannot, however, ask the LRS for a second referral for the same legal problem. You can only call them once for a referral for the same issue.
This service is free. It will not cost you anything to get the referral for a lawyer or for the 30 minute consultation.
Call 1-800-268-8326 or 416-947-3330 (within the GTA).
You can also use this service if you are in a crisis situation, for example, if you are in a shelter, in jail, or have no fixed address. Tell the person on the phone if you cannot wait 3 days for a referral or if you cannot safely receive a return phone call. In these cases, they will give you the numbers of 3 lawyers that you can try to call.
Working With a Lawyer
You can do simple things to get the best results from your lawyer. For more information, read How do I work effectively with a lawyer?
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