Getting Started


The First Step

The first step is to call and book your initial consultation. When you call us, one of our very capable and knowledgeable assistants, Venassa, Tracy or Jaclyn, will take a brief background of your situation and schedule a convenient time for you to come in and meet with one of our lawyers. We do not, as a rule, have much of a delay between the first call and the initial interview.

This first meeting with your lawyer is one of the most important. It will set the tone for and establish a healthy lawyer-client partnership which will be invaluable as your file progresses. This meeting usually lasts between 1-2 hours.

The interview can be broken down into four parts:

1) taking a history and reviewing all available documentation;
2) discussing the legal issues that arise – this may be very preliminary as all of the necessary information and documentation may not be available at the first interview to make it possible to look at all of the issues. This can very much be a process with the issues evolving or being discovered over time as new information becomes available. Please remember, life is not static, so your legal issues may evolve and change over time;
3) discussing with you appropriate dispute resolution options, e.g., mediation, collaborative family law, litigation (as a last resort), etc.;
4) if possible at the first interview, answering your questions.

What to Expect at your Initial Consultation

Your initial meeting is the first step in determining how best to proceed.

Interview Part 1

Generally and for the first part of the interview we focus on getting a "history" a thorough history of both the good and the bad. This is a crucial process so please come prepared to provide a concise overview of what brought you to see us. Be prepared to tell the good and the bad. We cannot help you if we do not know the whole story. We do insist on taking a thorough history of your situation so that we can, as much as possible, cover the bases. The more we know about you and your problem, the better we can advise you which type of process may best work for you.

Please do not expect to start asking a lot of questions before we take a history and review all the relevant documents. That would be a bit like asking your doctor to diagnose a medical problem without taking a history and running the necessary test, etc.

Interview Part 2

We will begin to identify the legal issues that arise from your situation only after we take a history and look at all of the relevant documentation. We may, based on our experience, venture to provide you with a preliminary "diagnosis"; however, we cannot and will not provide you with our legal opinion as to the potential outcome of your file until all of the necessary information has been collected.

Interview Part 3

As noted above, we will explore some of the different Dispute Resolution ("DR") methods available to you (i.e., mediation, collaborative family law, litigation, etc.) and help you narrow down which process or combination of processes would be most suited to your circumstances. This is an important consideration because the DR method you choose will impact on how quickly your problem can be resolved, how much control you will maintain over the process and outcome, your legal costs, etc.

Please remember that just because you want to settle and try mediation or collaborative family law doesn't mean that your spouse is of a like mind. The appropriate dispute resolution option will depend on many dynamics including you, your spouse and whom your spouse chooses to represent him or her.

Interview Part 4

We will then invite you to ask questions. So come prepared with a list of questions – that is not only helpful but saves time – which is money.

After you have retained us to represent you, we will offer to send you comprehensive introductory materials which we've specially prepared for our clients. These materials have been developed over decades of practice to help you understand the legal process, turn your mind to important questions and make your meetings with your lawyer as time-efficient and useful as possible.

We will advise you as to what your options are for "next steps".

What You Should Consider Bringing

If you have received a letter from another lawyer, or if you have been served with court papers ("Application", "Motion to Change" – as examples), then you should bring these documents with you. If you already have a Separation Agreement or a Court Order in place then you should bring those documents in as well. Otherwise, you do not need to bring anything with you aside from perhaps a list of questions you have.

You may also wish to bring with you a family member or friend. That is entirely up to you. Please note however that what you tell your lawyer must be kept in the strictest of confidence by the lawyer and is privileged so no one can find out what you have told your lawyer (unless you tell your lawyer that you are about to commit a crime). That same privilege does not apply to anyone who sits in on the meeting.

We will also need to see a piece of valid, government-issued identification, i.e., Driver's Licence, Passport, Birth Certificate, etc. This is a requirement of the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Our Initial Consultation Policy

Your initial meeting with this firm is just that – an initial meeting. It does not mean that we have been hired to represent you with respect to your particular matter. The initial consultation is the starting ground to determine whether this firm is best suited to represent you based on the facts in your particular case.

As such, we offer a block fee at a discounted rate for the initial consultation. This will allow us to take a short history from you before we get into the specifics of your matter. When you call to book your appointment, Jaclyn or Tracy will gladly advise you of our various rates.

We require payment for the Initial Consultation at the time you come in for your appointment. We are happy to provide you with the following payment options:

a) Cash (we will provide a receipt to you);
b) VISA;
c) MasterCard;
d) Debit;
e) Bank Draft; or
f) Money Order.

Thanks for taking the time to review these materials and we look forward to meeting with you.