CHOOSING A LAW FIRM

A topic that may be in the back of most potential clients’ minds that can have one of the most significant impacts on their lives is which law firm they should hire for their legal matter. This question can seem daunting at first, but after reading this article, we hope you will be in a better position to make an informed decision. We find that there are many variables involved that should be assessed when choosing a law firm. Below is a list of what we consider to be some of the most important qualities to look for in a law firm.

EXPERIENCE

Undoubtedly, experience is one of the most important criteria for choosing a lawyer. It is unlikely for someone to find a lawyer who is an expert in all areas of the law. In finding a lawyer for your legal matter, you should ask the lawyer whether they have represented clients with a similar matter in the past. You should also ask probing questions that require the lawyer to provide answers which will demonstrate experience and knowledge in your field. For example, you may ask how long a business law matter like yours takes to be completed, what are the various steps involved, and how long the lawyer has been practicing law in the specific area. The law is vast and, in our experience, lawyers who focus on a niche area of the law generally have more specialized and specific knowledge. While experience is a good indicator your matter will be in good hands, it is not the only thing to consider. A lawyer may have decades of experience, but if they use outdated software, or have poor communication with their clients, then they might not be the ideal lawyer or law firm for you.

RELIABILITY

Reliability is one of the most important things to look out for in any law firm. As a client, you want to be sure the lawyer you are paying is communicating with you in a timely manner, responding to your emails, and consistently following up on the status of your matter to ensure there is progress. As mentioned above, a lawyer can be very experienced but if they are not attentive to your matter or not available to address your issues, they may not be a good fit for you. While it would be great to find a lawyer that is both experienced and reliable, finding a lawyer with both qualities may not always be a reality for clients. In fact, our experience demonstrates that a highly reliable lawyer with lower experience can be a very good fit for certain clients as the less experienced lawyer may be more reliable, available, and persistent. It is up to you to determine what qualities are most important to you.

PERSONALITY AND ENERGY

Your lawyer should have a personality that matches yours. You should look for a lawyer who is compassionate with you and has passion for the job. Your lawyer should understand your personal and professional position and their services should be tailored to your specific circumstances. Similarly, you should choose a lawyer who displays positive energy and attitude toward your matter. A happy and compassionate lawyer will show up every day with dedication and without complaint. This is what they love to do and working on your matter is natural and painless to them.

COST AND TRANSPARENCY OF FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS

The cost of services is of course one of the most important criteria in choosing a law firm. The law firm you hire should be within your budget and you should always make sure that the law firm is transparent about its fees and disbursements. The fees should be clearly set out in writing in a retainer agreement, and you should not sign the retainer agreement until you clearly understand its content. The Law Society of Ontario has strict rules that lawyers must adhere to regarding fees and disbursements. All fees and disbursements must be fair, reasonable, and disclosed in a timely manner to the client. Moreover, if a lawyer advertises a specific fee on their website, they must specify if disbursements, third-party charges, or taxes may be charged on top of the advertised fee. When looking for a law firm, always clarify their fees and disbursements in writing before engaging their services. This way, you will know exactly how fees are charged for the services received.

MODERN APPROACH TO THE PRACTICE OF LAW

When looking for a law firm, look for a law firm that keeps up with new technology. With the introduction of new legal software and a lot of firms going paperless, retaining a firm that is still printing hundreds of pages or using outdated software to manage your matter may be costing you excess legal or administrative fees. Make sure the law firm you retain is always keeping up to date with the digital era and adopting the legal software that will allow them to work on your matter in more efficient ways without costing the client additional legal fees or disbursements.

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Last, but certainly not least on this list is customer service. While customer service can encompass all of the topics discussed in this article, this is referring more to the classic sense of being professional, respectful, and providing quality service to clients. If the law firm that represents you is not treating you or your legal problems like they matter, you may need to seek better representation. The ideal law firm should treat every client with outstanding customer service regardless of the size or profitability of the matter. Good customer service starts with the initial call you make to the law firm and should continue throughout the entirety of your matter.

If you are looking for a real estate or business law firm that encompasses the above criteria, please contact us today to book an initial consultation.

Contact Us