Your first time approaching a law office can be an unnerving experience. It is natural to worry about cost, time, confidentiality, and the end result.
When Should I Approach a Lawyer?
You may ask yourself: when do I need to approach a lawyer? The short answer to this question is one word: early. Just like visiting a doctor for a check-up can prevent more serious complications, a routine check-up on your legal affairs may prevent more serious, costly, and time consuming issues for you. Legal matters are complex, and often become increasingly complex as they proceed. Lawyers are trained to understand the complex legal situations which you face, and to provide you with advice, guidance, and service in managing those situations.
Will the Lawyer Take My Case?
We do not take on the matter of every person who visits our office. Sometimes the matter is best referred to another professional, such as a social worker, family counselor, or accountant. Some specific types of action are best handled by another law firm, or a specific lawyer, better trained or equipped to handle a precise area of the law. Sometimes our office will identify that a simple matter is easier for a person to deal on their own. We will take on your case only when we have the expertise to work through your particular issue, and both you and we are comfortable that we will be able to meet your goals.
No matter which law firm you approach, legal services can be expensive. Lawyers train for years to develop their highly specialized skills, and a lawyer’s time is always in high demand. Our office understands that you are concerned about costs, and aims to deal with your matter in the most cost-effective way.
There are a number of ways to minimize legal costs. The first is to act early. The second is, when acting on your matter, to be concise and organized. The third is to be open to discussing costs: our office will work out payment terms for legal fees, and being prepared for your bill is much better than being surprised by a bill. While it is difficult to estimate fees, we will do our best to give you a ballpark figure, and we are always prepared to provide you with an interim statement of your fees and disbursements.
Everything in the legal world takes time. Unless there is a clear and pressing emergency, there are only five working days in a week where law offices are open and courts are in session. Lawyers often have work in progress on more than fourty files at any given time. While your file will always be a priority, there are other priority files in front of any lawyer. Some files will be more urgent, and some allow for a less immediate pace work. Discussing the length of time your action might take with your lawyer, and honestly communicating your situation and your needs, will help our office to determine the priority of your file, whether the timeesists to take your matter on, and allow us to structure the quickest possible resolution of your matter for you. Understanding that lawyers have multiple demands on their time helps to build a positive client-lawyer relationship.
Confidentiality and Perceptions
Everything you do with a law firm is confidential. Unless you disclose an intention to do harm to others, your discussions and consultations with members of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, and their staff members, are protected by solicitor-client privilege. In common terms, this means that we cannot disclose anything that you tell us unless doing so is approved by you or clearly within your interests.
In working with a law office, you may need to discuss and disclose very private and sensitive details of your life. You may be reluctant to openly share these details. While we cannot necessarily reduce your nervousness, we can remind you that we have heard a lot of life stories, and while yours might be difficult to share, our role is neither to judge nor criticize. Our role is to help you deal with the matter you bring to us in the most effective way.
The Human Factor
Lawyers and legal staff are human beings, and from time to time, there are misunderstanding between lawyers, support staff, and clients. The intricate details that we face on every file, the changing nature of the law, the length of time our files take, and the time constraints we face mean that errors and misunderstandings are an occasional reality in our business. If you do note an error, or believe we have mistaken your instructions, please be understanding, but do not hesitate to bring it to our attention.