Under rule 4.2-1 of the Law Society of Ontario’s rules for lawyers, a lawyer may not advertise or market themselves as the “best”. This is because the referenced section of the rules prevents promotions that include bestowing exceptional titles or awards upon one’s self if they may be considered misleading, confusing, and or deceptive. Simply, when lawyers in Ontario market their services, they are not permitted to use terms like the “best” or “most qualified” to describe themselves. The question that then arises if you’ve been criminally charged in Oshawa proper or in Durham Region is how you should assess the jurisdictions various lawyers and law firms to find the one most suited to represent you given your particular circumstances?
A Good Starting Point: The Internet Is Your Friend
Today, members of our society rely heavily on the internet to complete most of our day to day tasks. When we need information or advice, we often turn to search engines like Google. As a result, most lawyers today have a presence online. This makes the internet a good place to start your search for the appropriate counsel. However, the internet is largely unregulated, and this can lead to the dissemination of inaccurate and or misleading information. As a result, you should prepare yourself before commencing your online search. This will ensure that your online queries are an asset to your quest for counsel and not a hinderance. Important things to ponder include;
- What does the lawyer’s reputation online consist of?
- Does this lawyer have a professional looking website that contains pertinent information like their experience and credentials?
- Do they appear to have knowledge and experience handling your specific charge?
- How have they demonstrated their knowledge and expertise?
- Are there testimonials?
- Does the website indicate clearly the potential fees and billing structure the lawyer or firm offer?
Generally, these are the things that matter to persons when they are criminally charged and the answers to these ponderances should be made available by the practitioner or firm in their promotional materials.
If you’ve been charged in Oshawa or anywhere in Durham Region, it is important to also find a lawyer who regularly appears in the Oshawa courthouse and has a positive rapport in the region. Does the website of the practitioner reflect this sort of jurisdictional experience?
Assessing the lawyer or firm’s website will also enable you to review the quality of their work. This can be done if they have provided examples of or references to successfully contested matters with similar facts to your own. It is important to look for genuine testimonials, as these will give you a third-party viewpoint on the competencies and effectiveness of the specific lawyer or firm.
Of additional concern to you should be the simplicity of communicating with the lawyer or firm in question. Can you easily reach the lawyer through the website for a free half hour initial consultation? The criminal law firm of Aitken Robertson offers representation in Oshawa, which is where charges laid in Durham Region are prosecuted. We do so out of our local office, which is conveniently located in the heart of the city a few hundred meters from the courthouse. The criminal law firm of Aitken Robertson has an immersive website where you will find all the features described above and more.
Consultation is Key
If the lawyer’s or law firm’s site tells you that you can get a free half hour consultation, you should plan to do so. It is a good way to evaluate how the lawyer or law firm is able to assist you with your specific charges. Typically, in the free consultation, you get to hear the lawyer’s preliminary assessment of your case. You can also gain an appreciation for the lawyer or firm’s level of professionalism. No matter the skill or knowledge of the lawyer, their ability to represent you is diminished if you are unable to work with them. You are a stakeholder in the matter, counsel will require your assistance in some shape or form, and a lack of compatibility with counsel may jeopardize their ability to effectively litigate on your behalf. You should consider, is this a lawyer with whom you would get along?
Finally, through a consultation, you should gain a clearer understanding of what the total cost of the firm or lawyer’s services would be. You should also possess clarity as to what the next steps towards resolving your matter using their expertise would entail. Hopefully, you will exit the consultation feeling as if you are now more familiar with your criminal case and that the lawyer you met with is someone you believe is capable of resolving your matter in the best way possible. Aitken Robertson offers free half hour consultations both in-person and by telephone.
Fees for Lawyers in Durham Region
It is reasonable to be concerned with the potential cost of litigation. It is true, good legal representation is not cheap, but it doesn’t have to “break the bank: so to speak. The lawyer most suited to your needs need not be the most expensive. How much representation by counsel costs is determined by several factors and is subject to variation on a case by case basis. Finding a lawyer or firm who can precisely determine the work involved in your matter is essential, it will allow you, prior to retaining their services, to have an accurate understanding of what the total costs may be.
A senior practitioner will cost you more than one who is just starting, but the extra cost is justifiable in a criminal matter due to the potentially severe consequences upon conviction. You may stand to lose your liberty, your licence or may be forced to disengage with your family, and at the very least you face obtaining or enhancing a criminal record.
How complex a case is will impact the total cost, the more time and resources required to obtain a resolution the greater the cost will be. A simple summary offence will cost less than a complex drinking and driving case involving a fatality. Aitken Robertson is an established criminal law firm with experience representing people at all levels of the criminal courts throughout Ontario, including the court in Oshawa. Its lawyers regularly handle a wide range of matters from the mundane to the perplexing.
When you meet with your prospective counsel, make sure to inquire about their fee and billing structures. Some lawyer or firms bill you by the hour, making it difficult for you to budget for a potential resolution. When billing this way, it is standard to bill for even small increments of an hour. If you call your lawyer, for example, to ask a question, you will be billed for the time spent speaking with you. Other firms, including Aitken Robertson, offer a block fee billing system in which you are told up front what the total cost per resolution will be. At Aitken Robertson, your quote includes all the work typically done in a case. The cost of all the work required to complete the file is encompassed within the fee quoted.
At Aitken Robertson we appreciate that no one plans to be criminally charged. As a result, we offer individualized and flexible monthly payment plans. This way, you do not have to pay your legal fees all at once. The firm does not charge interest on our monthly payment plans. The lawyers with the firm of Aitken Robertson, due to our block fee system, will not bill you for each call, email or meeting with your lawyer. In fact, we will encourage you to actively participate and to work with us to resolve your matter.
Most lawyers, in addition to their standard fees, will charge you for “disbursements”. Disbursements are the additional costs associated with resolving a matter. For example, some firms will charge mileage for attendance at distant courts or for the costs of photocopying and postage. Aitken Robertson will not bill you for things like photocopying and postage and will never charge for mileage, regardless of the distance.
Only you can decide who is the ideal lawyer to defend you and this will depend on a host of subjective factors. Reviewing the relevant information on a lawyer’s website, attending a free initial consultation, and inquiring into the lawyer’s fees, are all good steps that you can take to make your decision.
If you’ve been criminally charged in Durham Region and your matter is in the Oshawa court, consider contacting the firm of Aitken Robertson (905-725-3564) for a free half hour consultation to discuss your case, find out about our fees, and to get to know us.