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4

Finding a Toronto Lawyer: the challenges and solution…

Michael CarabashIt’s probably safe to suggest that most ordinary Torontonians do not personally know or have immediate access to a lawyer to help resolve their legal issues.

Rather, they may depend on their friends, colleagues, or other professionals they do know (e.g. bankers, accountants, consultants, real estate agents, insurance agents, paralegals, other lawyers they know, etc.) to refer them to a good lawyer who specializes in the field they require.

They may turn to the Yellow Pages (either online or the big yellow book) and simply pick an advertisement and make a phone call. I’ve been told that people tend to pick the biggest advertisement because they somehow believe that the bigger the ad, the more successful the lawyer or law firm.

They may even turn to the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lawyer Referral Service, which charges users $6 for a 30-minute conversation with one lawyer.

Alternatively, they may try to resolve their own legal issues.

Torontonians generally only need a lawyer for a limited time and have a limited budget for such engagements. Yet it is hard for these people to distinguish lawyers and law firms from each other, especially given that many small and medium law firms have a general practice. It may also be intimidating for them to approach lawyers with their legal issues, given that doing so may cost money (e.g. $500 for the initial hour visit) and ultimately retaining a lawyer could be very expensive given the uncertainty of hourly billings.

These factors make ordinary Torontonians shy away from seeking or hiring lawyers. Those sophisticated Torontonians who surf the Web looking for a lawyer are hungry for more information than what is provided in the YellowPages or a newspaper advertisement. They are doing a Google or Yahoo search to seek out a particular type of attorney in a particular field in a particular area. They are also looking for testimonials and looking for the experience of a lawyer.

According to the Kelsey Group, provider of strategic research and analysis, data and competitive metrics on the Yellow Pages, and electronic directories, in a survey released in 2005, more adults are using the Internet to research shopping than they are the Yellow Pages. According to the study, use of the Yellow Pages sharply declined in homes with Internet access, but alarmingly, remained flat in homes without Internet access. This suggests that the average consumer is loath to flip through hundreds of ads in a book, and more likely to tap‐tap‐ tap a few keys to find the information that they need (“Dramatic Shift in consumer practices forces legal industry to re‐ think advertising options”, Canada NewsWire (Ottawa: Mar 1, 2006), pg. 1.).

All in all, it makes perfect sense for users facing these challenges to turn to Dynamic Legal Forms as a way of finding the right lawyer for the right price. Making a post is free and anonymous, posts remain on the website for up to 45 days, and users have the opportunity to receive information and multiple quotes from local lawyers specializing in the area of law requested. All in all, a very good deal…

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