Finding a good lawyer in Toronto can be a bit of a challenge these days. After all, there are hundreds of lawyers in Toronto and with twenty-four law schools in Canada, more professionals are being welcomed into the city every year.
It can even be more difficult if this is your first time looking for a lawyer. There are lots of different law firms in the GTA, each varying in specialty, size, and experience.
Who should you hire? Selecting the best lawyer to represent you, fortunately, can be simplified and ultimately can come down to five considerations. Here are out top tips on how to find a good lawyer in Toronto:
Experience And Track Record Matter A Lot
It is absolutely crucial for the lawyer you pick to not only have the experience you want but they should also have a track record of success. A ‘track record of success’ is not something every lawyer has. In fact, there are a certain percentage of lawyers that you’ll want to avoid altogether.
There are over 55,000 registered lawyers in Ontario, similar to what is found in the United States and only roughly a third consider themselves to be very successful and only half would categorize themselves as ‘successful.’
There should be some evidence of a lawyer’s experience with legal issues identical or similar to yours.
In your initial consultation with a lawyer, don’t hesitate to put them on the spot and ask about their experience with cases similar to yours and their track record. You want to feel assured that you’re partnering with the right person.
Responsiveness And Communication
Here is where you really find out whether you’ve chosen the right lawyer. The person handling your case should be able to communicate well and be responsive. You don’t want to be waiting for days for a return call and you don’t want to be confused about something that relates to your case.
A lot of clients assume the bigger the law firm, the better the lawyers but this isn’t always the case.
According to Michael Giordano and Aline Avanessy at AvaGio, large, high-volume law firms can sometimes lack client-focused care. They pass off work to others or end up being too busy to offer the sort of commitment a client wants. “Larger firms do not equal better service”, says Avanessy.
Regardless of the size of the law firm, you don’t want someone who is too busy. A good lawyer will be proactive and keep you updated on any changes and developments in your case.
Find A Lawyer Who Specializes in Your Case
Lawyers are subject matter experts and specialize in specific areas. Depending on what legal issue you have, there’s a lawyer out there for it. Some issues are also related and included under broader legal specialties.
There are firms in Ontario that specialize in business law, such as GLG LLP, handling matters like corporate law, start-ups, the purchase and sale of businesses, and commercial agreements. Be sure to find a lawyer with the background and professional expertise to provide adequate assistance.
Do Your Research And Ask For References
Be sure to do some background on your lawyer. A simple Google search can bring up a lot of information, from online reviews to press articles and the like. There are multiple trustworthy legal directories, like Law Society or Best Lawyers. They are convenient tools as they give you a list of lawyers with their bios, fields of expertise and reviews all in one place.
You may want to ask a lawyer for references or past clients for you to speak with. Many firms actively encourage their clients to look at their reviews and, if asked, are willing to provide a list of past clients and past cases.This sort of openness is what you want and will quickly eliminate lawyers who aren’t quite up to par.
Costs And Fees
Lastly, most lawyers can be quite expensive no matter the legal problem. Ask about a lawyer’s cost and fee and be open and honest about what you want from them. The costs and fees shouldn’t be something a lawyer wants to hide from you.
Furthermore, find out about how they bill, what methods they use, and possible additional fees. Certain lawyers may only bill one way while others have alternative billing methods. Often, clients are charged by the hour which adds up quickly. The average hourly rate of counsel in Ontario for family law is $350/hour, as an example.