How to Find a Lawyer
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Often, situations occur in our lives that we cannot predict and planning ahead is not an option. If an unfortunate circumstance imposes legal consequences on you, it is time to find a lawyer. For example, if you are involved in an accident, charged with a criminal offence, or getting a divorce, you cannot look for a lawyer until after the incident has occurred. However, there are circumstances where the future need for a lawyer is foreseeable. You should pre-plan when it comes to writing a Will, Power of Attorney, or Representation Agreement. If you own a business you should find a law firm that can provide you with legal services and advice on a continuous basis.
Where to Look
You should begin by making a list of law firms located in your area. The Yellow Pages and law firm websites are a good place to start. Often, firm websites give details about areas of practice, and they provide backgrounds on their lawyers. You can also get referrals by asking colleagues, friends, and relatives about their experiences with particular lawyers or law firms. If you are looking for your business you should ask your bank account manager, or accountant.
Talking to Perspective Solicitors
Once you have narrowed down your list of perspective law firms you should call them, and ask for a free consultation. During this initial meeting you should inquire about their fees, areas of expertise and experience. Often large firms charge much higher rates than small firms, yet the quality of service does not differ. In fact, small firms often have a narrowed area of expertise, and the experience is more personal. In order to establish a good relationship you must trust your lawyer and their respective law firm. It might be a good idea to meet with more than one lawyer before you make your final decision.
Weighing the Factors
Numerous factors may weigh into your decision making process depending on your needs. For example, if you are looking for a business lawyer there are a number of things you need to consider. The lawyer should have experience providing the services you require and a history working with businesses that are comparable to yours in terms of size and field.
You may want to know what other kinds of law the firm practices, and what type of clients they represent. For example, if you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident you may want to know whether or not the same firm ever acts on behalf of ICBC, or if they exclusively represent the injured party. If your matter involves litigation you should ask the lawyer about their court experience. You may also consider how long they take to respond to phone calls and emails. You should consider all these factors before signing a retainer agreement
Alternatively, the Canadian Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service Program provides referrals for local lawyers (1-800-663-1919). It gives people an opportunity for a half hour consultation, for a nominal fee.
If you would like advice or for more information regarding your important legal matters please contact Chahal Priddle LLP at 250-372-3233 to set up an appointment today.