Getting legal help

Working with your lawyer


1. Tips

Legal Aid Ontario offers some general tips on working with your lawyer.

  • Use your time carefully

    Lawyers bill by the hour and time is money.
  • Be prepared

    Write down your questions before visiting and make sure your lawyer explains any confusing or complicated information.
  • If you have more questions

    For questions that can't wait until the following appointment, ask your lawyer's assistant or secretary for help. If neither can help, leave your phone number and the best time to contact you so your lawyer can call back.
  • Always make an appointment

    Lawyers are very busy and may not be in the office all the time. Please call if you are going to miss an appointment and remember to schedule another one.
  • Keep all documents

    Keep all papers in a file or an envelope and bring it to every meeting with your lawyer. You should also make notes of what your lawyer says and read all information given.

2. Making contact

Before meeting a lawyer, you should:

  • Write down all details of your case. This will make talking about the legal issue easier;
  • Make a list of questions you would like to ask;
  • Call to make an appointment with the lawyer, and ask what to bring to the meeting;
  • Phone and let the office know if you are going to be late or cancel.

3. At the first meeting

Remember to:

  • Bring all papers and court documents to the lawyer's office along with your list of questions;
  • Give your lawyer as much information as possible about your legal issue;
  • Answer all questions completely and truthfully. Giving private information might be uncomfortable or embarrassing, but a lawyer is there to support, not judge you;
  • Be clear about what you expect. A lawyer needs to understand exactly what you want so they can better assist you;
  • Write down the answers to your questions, and anything your lawyer requires you to do or bring for the next appointment.

4. What can I expect from my lawyer?

Lawyers will explain the laws that apply to your legal problems including:

  • what your rights are
  • what kind of results you can expect
  • how long it might take
  • what's going to happen next and how long that might take

The best person to give you legal advice is your lawyer, even if what they say is disappointing. While you may know people who have had problems like yours, remember each case is different. Please try to understand what is and isn't possible for your lawyer to do. Solving legal problems takes time.

5. Your lawyer's job

A lawyer's job is to:

  • help get what is rightfully the client's, according to the law
  • speak for their clients
  • provide legal representation for their clients

Lawyers are there to help solve your legal issues. While it is always good to like your lawyer, trusting your lawyer to do a good job is the main priority.