We know most clients want to keep your legal costs down as low as possible so here are some ideas of what you can do to help yourself.
- Complete your Client Intake Questionnaire. This questionnaire contains basic information your lawyer requires to represent you. If all the information is in one form it saves time at both your first appointment and throughout your file.
- Write down your specific legal questions for your appointment and, if relevant, prepare a brief chronology of your relationship/situation for your lawyer.
- Gather all important documents for your first appointment such as your Certificate of Marriage from Vital Statistics (not your church or civil ceremony certificate) if you want a divorce, or Court documents and letters you have received, or financial documents if support or division of property are required. If you do not have your Certificate of Marriage you can order it online through the Vital Statistics website. Obtaining this document yourself helps to keep your legal costs down.
- If you bring in a large stack of documents a legal assistant will take time to go through those documents and organize them. This work will be charged to you at the assistant’s hourly rate. We recommend organizing documents by group and in chronological order. If in doubt, speak with a legal assistant about what to do before you take time to organize things.
- Every financial statement requires:
- Income tax returns for the past three years (can be accessed on the CRA website);
- Notices of assessment for the past three years (can be accessed on the CRA website);
- A recent pay statement, E.I benefit statements, or Workers’ Compensation Benefits statements; and
- If you own property, a recent property assessment.
Depending on your individual circumstances, your financial statement may also require corporate financial statements, financial statements of your business or professional practice.
Having these necessary documents ready to go will cut down on the time spent preparing the financial statement, and therefore cut down on fees.
- Every time your lawyer reviews an email or voicemail you are billed for the time so we recommend contacting the legal assistant if you have any questions. Often the legal assistant will have information you need and, if they do not, they can obtain an answer from your lawyer in the most efficient way.
- Collect your questions and put them in one longer email rather than sending multiple emails. Keeping your emails concise will also help keep your legal costs down.