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Hiring a lawyer
To get answers to questions about hiring a lawyer, please select
one of the links below.
How do I hire a lawyer?
Lawyers are highly-trained professionals who counsel individuals
and businesses in a full range of personal and corporate legal
matters. Many business transactions have legal implications, so
you should try to find a lawyer whom you can treat as a trusted
advisor. These questions are designed to help you choose the right
lawyer for your situation.
What can a lawyer do for me?
Lawyers provide legal guidance. This doesn't mean that they can
make your business decisions for you. A lawyer should identify
legal issues of concern to you or your small business, tell you
what the law says about these issues, and advise you on how to
How can a lawyer help me in setting
up a business?
A lawyer can:
- Explain the advantages and disadvantages of a sole proprietorship,
a partnership or a corporation;
- draft a partnership agreement or incorporate your company;
- review financial documents for your business such as a loan;
- review leases of premises or equipment;
- act for you in the purchase of property;
- review franchise agreements;
- draft standard form contracts for use in your business;
- advise you how to best protect your ideas,
trademarks, designs and know-how.
How can a lawyer help when my
business is up and running?
A lawyer can:
- help you negotiate contracts and put them in writing;
- advise you on hiring and firing employees;
- advise you about doing business in other provinces and countries;
- help you collect unpaid bills;
- defend any lawsuits against you;
- advise you about taxes.
If I decide to get out of business,
how can a lawyer help me?
A lawyer can:
- help you sell your business;
- help you sell you ownership interest if you are one of several
- arrange for the transfer of the business to your children;
- dissolve a corporation or LLC.
When do you need a lawyer?
The recommended approach is to seek the advice of a lawyer whenever
a legal issue arises that involves your business. Since it is
not always clear when that happens, many problems are solved without
resorting to lawyers. When an issue arises, you must first decide
whether you need a lawyer at all. In order to know if you should
solve your problem on your own, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are the consequences if you are unsuccessful?
- How complex is the law in your situation?
- Do you have the time and energy?
If you are still unsure, some outside professionals, advisors
or para-professionals may be useful:
Check with your Board of Directors or Board of Advisors; they
can provide information about the steps they went through and
the resources they used in solving their problems. Contact government
and non-profit organizations for income tax, legal aid, consumer
protection, employment standards, etc.
Check with other professionals: accountants, bank officers, insurance
agents. For some routine matters, legal assistants, para-legals
and notaries public are useful. While not allowed to give legal
advice, they can provide added value in familiarity with standard
corporate forms and filing requirements.
Also, don’t forget public libraries, legal aid services,
student legal services, small claims courts, reading self-help
books and other resources such as books, pamphlets and videos.
How do I contact a lawyer?
Give him a call. Most lawyers are happy to steer people in the
right direction and calm fears about the legal process. There
are several advantages to this approach. The main one is that
a lawyer can quickly cut to the heart of your problem, distinguish
between legal and non-legal problems. Another advantage is that
you usually will not be charged for this phone call. Finally,
a lawyer will not only keep your problem confidential, but has
the ability to assess it from a less emotional perspective.
Please feel free to call us at (866) 734-2568
should you have any questions.
How do I find a lawyer?
First, try to identify the areas of law in which your problems
fall so that you can find a lawyer capable with dealing with all
these areas. Some of the main areas of legal practice linked to
- Corporate/commercial/securities law (incorporation, buying/selling
a business, drafting shareholders/partnership agreement)
- Labor/employment law (negotiating and interpreting collective
agreements, resolving disputes, explaining obligations, advising
about restrictive covenants, dismissals)
- Civil litigation law (suing, being sued, collecting debts,
negotiating and settling)
- Real Estate law (buying or selling land or property, negotiating
a lease, solving landlord/tenant disputes, mortgaging property)
- Wills and estates (drafting or challenging a will, probate)
What should I ask a prospective
Some questions you should ask a prospective lawyer are:
- How many years are you in practice?
- How long have you been with your current firm?
- What areas of law do you practice?
- Are you a partner or an associate?
- Time and accessibility
- How quickly can I expect a resolution?
- When can we meet?
- How much can I expect top pay?
- How do you charge for your services?
- Do you provide your clients with a detailed written statement
- Do you charge anything for the first meeting?
- Do you communicate via telephone, cell phone, fax or email?
How can I help my lawyer?
Ways you can help your lawyer include:
- Be honesty and open
- Tell the lawyer all the facts, even the ones that you think
- Keep your lawyer up to date on any events or any changes
relating to your file.
- Ask for advice in plain language and summarize how you understand
- Ask to be directed to any reading that you could do to better
- Ask for a description of the steps your lawyer plans to take
and think about the way you could help at each step.
- Stay informed and keep track of what transpires on your file.
- Take notes at all meetings and list tasks to be completed.
- Ask for copies of all correspondence on file.
- Have confidence in your lawyer's advice and follow his/her
- Do not harass your lawyer. If you need more attention, discuss
way in which he/she can keep you informed.
- Be prepared to accept both positive and negative advice.
- Never do anything concerning your case without consulting
- Provide information to your lawyer as soon as possible after
he/she requests it.
- Pay your bills on time and be available if your lawyer needs
How do lawyers calculate their
Depending on the complexity of the issues, the services required,
and the degree of experience of the lawyer, fees can be charged
in different ways:
Billed hourly: charged a rate for the time
they spend working for you (e.g. the time spent reading a
letter or talking on the phone).
Flat Fee: charge a flat rate for a particular
matter, usually when they can predict how long the work will
take: incorporations, trademarks.
Contingency Fee: in some matters, the lawyer's
fee will be a stated percentage of the amount of money collected
from the lawsuit.
- Retainer: provide a range of specified services
for a fixed monthly or annual fee.
In addition, lawyers will also bill for disbursements such as
long distance phone calls, photocopies, document filling fees,
experts' reports and travel expenses.
We look forward to the opportunity to discuss any questions you
may have regarding the range of business, technology and intellectual
property services we offer. Please feel free to call us at (866) 734-2568 should you have any questions.
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Phone: (866) 734-2568 • Fax: (312) 275-7534
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