What happens in a legal consultation?
Your relationship with your lawyer begins with an initial consultation. Most initial consultations take around an hour, but complicated facts or extensive document review may make the consultation take longer. During the consultation, your lawyer will:
- Ask questions about how you were hired, your history in the job, and what has caused you to seek our advice
- Review your employment contract, if you have one
- Review the termination fact pattern and related documents
- Advise you about your rights to severance pay and any other legal claims you may have against your employer, such as Human Rights Code claims for discrimination or Employment Standards Act claims for unpaid wages
- Advise you about what options are available to you in seeking redress from your employer. These options may include retaining an employment lawyer to negotiate on your behalf, representing yourself with the assistance of an employment lawyer working behind the scenes, or moving forward on your own if you feel comfortable doing so.
What happens after the consultation?
You can decide whether you want to work with one of our lawyers to help you resolve your case. If you decide you want to go ahead with us, your lawyer will explain the details of retaining us and the usual settlement process.
Whether or not you decide to work with us, during the course of your consultation you will receive valuable legal advice about your rights and options. Our clients overwhelmingly agree that the initial consultation is a valuable investment in learning their rights as an employee.
How much does a consultation cost?
Fixed Fee One-Hour Consultation
Our lawyers charge $200 plus tax for the first hour of a legal consultation and document review. Beyond the first hour, your lawyer will charge at their normal hourly rate.
A credit card is required to book the consultation, though we will not charge your credit card until after the consultation. We also accept payment via cheque and e-transfer. All of our fees are subject to tax.
How to prepare for a successful consultation.
In the consultation, your lawyer will need to review your employment documents in order to properly advise you. Before your consultation you should gather your employment contract, any employer policies or handbooks, compensation plans, any warning letters or performance improvement plans, relevant correspondence with your employer or coworkers, and the termination paperwork. It is also helpful to have copies of your most recent pay statements and T4.
The best consultations are well-prepared. With this in mind, it is helpful if you organize your documents according to date or topic, have some idea of any specific questions you would like to ask your lawyer, and even prepare a timeline of events. Your lawyer can obtain all this information from you in the consultation, but an efficient and organized consultation is usually the most effective from the client's perspective.
How our lawyers work.
During your consultation, you may decide to retain one of our lawyers for further advice and representation. Your lawyer will speak with you about this in detail. Below is some general information about our legal process.
The lawyer-client relationship typically works like this:
- You tell us your employment legal problems.
- We provide legal advice, including explaining the legal background, telling you what kind of claim you may have, how much it may be worth, ways you may advance your claim, and any risks to your claim.
- You decide how to proceed. It is your case, after all.
- You provide us with instructions, according to how you want to direct your claim. We may provide advice on your instructions as necessary.
- We will carry out your instructions (so long as they are lawful and ethical).
This process continues until your legal concern is resolved. Sometimes it resolves very quickly with a settlement, but sometimes more negotiation is required to get the result you're looking for. In a minority of cases, the employer refuses to settle. In this situation, you have the option to pursue your claim in litigation.
We do not charge a percentage of whatever result we may obtain for you. Because cases tend to settle, this typically results in overpayment to the lawyer! Instead, we simply charge you for our time spent performing the work. We are often able to give a range of anticipated fees based on similar cases.