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Doing business with a lawyer

First meeting with a lawyer

The better prepared you are, the more efficient you'll be

Here are the steps you should follow as well as some sound advice to help you get the best service from your lawyer, from your first meeting to the moment you are billed.

  1. Prepare a list of questions

    Here are some common questions a client may have:

    • How long will the process take?
    • Will I have to spend a lot of time on it?
    • How much will this cost?
    • Are there ways to resolve my problem without going to court?
    • What happens if I lose? Or if I win?
  2. Prepare and organize your papers and documents

    These may include:

    • Contracts
    • Invoices
    • Wills
    • Deeds of sale
    • Photographs
    • Letters
  3. Describe your situation

    On a sheet of paper, write down all the elements of your situation or all the events in the order in which they happened, and describe them in as much detail as possible.

  4. List the names and contact information of the people associated with your situation

    Or involved in it.

The first meeting

The first meeting is important, because it will determine what you can expect from your lawyer. That's why you should not hesitate to ask your lawyer:

  1. To tell you if you can resolve your situation other than by going to court (such as through mediation or arbitration).
  2. To present the options available to you and the steps in the case, as well as how they will be carried out and how much they will cost, so you can choose the best method based on your needs and means. Make sure you really understand the information provided by your lawyer and don't hesitate to ask questions if necessary.
  3. To keep your informed on a regular basis about the progress of your case.
  4. To get your approval before doing anything that is not anticipated and will result in significant unforeseen expenses.
  5. To plan, with you, the billing frequency and billing periods based on what suits you best.

Lastly, don't hesitate to ask for an estimate of the fees you will have to pay and require detailed invoices for the services rendered by your lawyer: description, date and time of the steps taken, number of hours worked, expenses, etc.

In addition, you can ask your lawyer to give you written confirmation of the mandate you have given him and the costs that will be involved. For that purpose, here is a template of an Engagement and Professional Fee Agreement you can use when you meet with your lawyer.

Info-Barreau 1 844 954-3411