Many thanks go out to Mark Robins (CEO of LawyerLocate) who pointed out to me that Dynamic Legal Forms was mentioned in the media this week – this time in the Toronto Sun. I had no clue. I’ve been preoccupied with practicing law and putting up more legal forms.
Thanks go out to Alan Shanoff for mentioning us. Here’s the story in full:
“Selecting the right lawyer” by Alan Shanoff (January 11, 2011), Special to QMI Agency
You’d think it would be easy to find a good labour lawyer in 2011. But unless you are wealthy or well connected, it isn’t.
Sure you can look in print or online directories. The Yellow Pages has pages of listings. Your provincial law society site has every practicing lawyer listed. But how do you choose from among the thousands of names and how do you find a labour expert?
Many of the directories will give you the areas of practice for the lawyer. That’s often of little use; just because a lawyer says he practices in an area doesn’t mean he’s the one for you.
The Law Society of Upper Canada provides a list of certified specialists in labour law, but it only lists 26 lawyers in Ontario. Many of them work at large firms and most large firms won’t act for individuals. That’s because of the potential for conflicts of interest, and they’d rather be acting for big business. You’re much better off with a lawyer from a small employment law firm.
There are also online sites where you can post a question and receive an answer, sometimes at no cost. The Dynamic Legal Forms site (www.dynamiclegalforms.com) will forward your question to lawyers who have signed up to the site and you should receive a free answer. This may lead to finding a lawyer to act on your behalf.
Still, there’s a big difference between a faceless lawyer answering a question and retaining a lawyer to handle a dispute or lawsuit.
One step up from using an online resource is using the Law Society’s lawyer referral service. In Ontario, the Law Society of Upper Canada will provide you with the name of a lawyer who has signed up for the referral service. The lawyer will provide a 30-minute free consultation on the phone or in person. This system is hit and miss as there are many good lawyers on this list, however, many good lawyers aren’t.
I feel the best way to find a lawyer is by word of mouth. Check with others who have lost their jobs to see who they’ve retained. Don’t be shy about it. You’re not the first person to be fired.
Once you’ve obtained some names check them out online via a Google search or, better yet, on the Canadian Legal Information Institute site (canlii.org). Here you’ll have access to various databases that allow you to search the lawyer’s name to see what cases the lawyer has taken to trial. You can also read the decisions.
Once you’ve chosen a potential lawyer, ask if you can have a free 15 to 30-minute consultation. Many will agree. Come prepared with a complete written statement of the facts and the pertinent documents and be ready to make a judgment call on whether the lawyer is right for you. If you get a bad feeling or aren’t sure, find another lawyer. Don’t ever stay with a lawyer who isn’t a good fit. Before you retain the lawyer make sure you understand the fee arrangements and get a litigation budget.
Last, don’t use a generalist or the lawyer who drafted your will or acted on your house purchase. You need a specialist.
— Alan Shanoff was counsel to Sun Media for 16 years and is currently a freelance writer and teacher.