How can I make an appointment to see a lawyer?
There are several ways you can contact us. You can reach us by phone (604-266-7006) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or, if you prefer, you can complete our online consultation form. Once we hear from you, someone from our office will follow up with you by phone to discuss your concerns briefly and to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers.
Can I choose which lawyer I meet with?
Certainly. Feel free to take a look at our profiles section to get a sense of who we are and the type of work we do. You can also ask that we recommend a particular lawyer at the firm for you to speak with – we are happy to do so.
What if I don’t live in Vancouver?
We represent clients throughout British Columbia. If you are unable to attend at our offices to meet with one of our lawyers, we can easily arrange a telephone meeting for you.
How soon can I speak to a lawyer?
Typically, we will be able to offer you an appointment by the next business day, if not sooner.
What will happen at my first meeting with a lawyer?
Our initial consultation will last about an hour. These meetings are an opportunity for you to tell us your story and to see if our firm is a good “fit” for you. By the end of that hour, we will be able to advise you of your legal rights and options, and to recommend a course of action to deal with your situation. Depending on the outcome of our meeting, you may wish to hire us to do additional legal work for you. If so, we can also discuss the scope and cost of that work at that time.
How do I prepare for this meeting?
We would ask that you bring with you any written material you think may be relevant to your situation. For example, if you are seeking our advice following termination of your employment, it would be helpful for us to see a copy of your employment contract (if you have one), any written information about your benefits or bonus entitlements, any email or other correspondence from your employer you think might be important, your termination letter, and any severance offer from your ex-employer. Or, if you are an employer seeking our assistance regarding one of your employees, you may wish to bring relevant excerpts from his or her HR file. And in all cases, your own notes regarding your workplace experience can provide useful background for us.
Beyond that, it is our job to help you tell us your story. If there is particular information we need from you, we will ask for it, and if you are unsure of the answer, we can help you find it. We know that it can be daunting to meet with a lawyer for the first time, and to discuss what were often upsetting and stressful events, and it is our goal to make your initial meeting as trouble-free as possible.
How much will it cost to speak to a lawyer – do you offer a free initial consultation?
We charge a flat fee ($275 + taxes = $308) for your first meeting with one of our lawyers. We do this because our knowledge of employment law and our many years of experience allow us to quickly assess and analyze our clients’ issues such that, in that first hour with you, we are able to provide you with comprehensive and valuable advice. In terms of any services we provide beyond that first meeting, we will bill you for these on an hourly basis. We think you will find our lawyers’ rates to be competitive and we invite you to contact us if you wish more detailed information regarding our fees.
What if I can’t afford to pay right now – will you take my case on contingency?
We will occasionally work for clients on a contingency fee basis – that is, agree that you will only pay us for our services if your case is successful. This is something you can discuss with the lawyer during your initial consultation.
What happens after our first meeting?
At our first meeting, and throughout our relationship with you, we will work with you to develop a plan that suits your employment situation and that is designed to achieve whatever your objective is in retaining our services. A frequent first step is to help you communicate your position to the party you are in dispute with, for example, by writing a letter on your behalf, or by coaching you before an upcoming in-person meeting.
Can you get me a settlement so that I can avoid going to court?
Many clients are hopeful that they will be able to settle their dispute without having to go to court, and in such cases, we will endeavour to make this happen. We are often able to help clients resolve their employment law issues in a few months (sometimes even weeks) without having to resort to formal litigation. At the risk of stating the obvious, however, the likelihood of a settlement often hinges on the willingness of the parties involved to negotiate. Having said that, in our many years of experience, it is only a small minority of our clients’ cases that actually end up in court. In any case where we believe a settlement to be a viable and desirable option for our client, we will work actively with you and the other party to make this happen.
How much will it cost me to hire a lawyer?
The short answer to this question is that it depends…on many factors, the main ones being the complexity of your case and, again, how willing you and the other party are to discuss settlement. Once we meet with you and get a sense of the legal issues involved in your case, we will generally be able to estimate for you the scope (and therefore cost) of the work involved in representing you. It is our practice to be as transparent as possible up front about the legal fees and other costs that a client can expect to incur if they hire us – and as always, if you have any questions about cost we encourage you to raise these with us. It is also our practice to invoice you monthly for our services so that there are no surprises.
Will my ex-employer be responsible for paying my legal fees?
If your case goes to court and you are successful in your claim, the judge will typically order that your ex-employer pay you a portion of the cost of your legal fees. The exact amount you will be able to recover is determined according to a formula set out in the rules of court (which are established by government regulation). If we are able to resolve your case without going to court, you may also be able to recoup some of your legal costs as part of any monetary settlement reached with your ex-employer.
Are my legal fees tax deductible?
In the case of some employment law matters, yes, they will be. For more information regarding the possibility of deducting legal fees, see CRA Interpretation Bulletin IT-99R5 (Consolidated) and consult your accountant.
Do you offer legal services in areas other than employment law?
Our primary focus is employment law and related areas. However, if your case raises issues in another area of law, we may retain the services of a lawyer outside the firm to advise on those issues. For example, if you suffered an injury outside the workplace which resulted in your dismissal, you may have a claim for personal injury (in addition to any employment law-related claim) and, if you wish, we can work with a personal injury specialist to assist you with that claim.
How do I know when I should be contacting a lawyer?
We recommend that you consult with a lawyer whenever there is or will be a change in the nature or status of your employment. When you call our offices, our experienced intake staff will help you connect with the appropriate resource for your legal issue. Depending on your situation, we may suggest that you consult first with the Employment Standards Branch, for example, before setting up a meeting with one of our lawyers.
Will our meeting be confidential?
Absolutely. Lawyers are subject to a strict duty of confidentiality (subject to certain exceptions) which is set out in the Code of Professional Conduct for British Columbia, to which all lawyers in BC are subject.