Civil and Administrative
How Does Your Opinion Service Work?An opinion (aka 'litigation assessment') is my full investigation, assessment and detailed explanation of the merits and weaknesses of your litigation case. It is written specifically to inform self-represented persons of what they need to prepare for in self-managing their case.
Most self-reppers commence their litigation with little to no legal analysis or professional assessment at the beginning - this service is to remedy that. No matter how confident you are, proceeding without an opinion is a lot like starting to build a house without a blueprint; it might look like you are saving money at first but you'll soon find out why you needed it.
Simon's detailed written opinion on the merits of your case (aka litigation assessment) service includes (unless otherwise agreed):
- detailed discussion and document review to determine the key factual, legal and procedural issues of your case
- identification of available evidence for and against your case
- identification of available legal remedies
- identification of any impending limitation period and time-limit issues
- explanation of any major expenses involved in pursuing the matter, such as expert report fees, court fees, etc
- firm and reasonable time estimates for the delivery of my opinion, with sensitivity to time-urgent factors
- reasonable (but time-limited) follow-up discussion with me to make sure you understand it all.
Intake>>> Sorry, I likely won't respond to requests that don't comply with the instructions.
To start the no-charge, no-commitment intake phase please email me a maximum 500-word summary of your legal situation. During the subsequent email discussions I will likely ask more questions, and may request documents - but please don't send documents unless I ask for them. For internet security reasons I may refuse to view attachments from prospective clients, but this does not apply once hired.
Also include your name, address, town/city and the phrase "cleopatra rules" in the email to signify that you agree with the following statement:
I have read this client page fully and I understand how Simon's legal opinion service for people who are self-representing works. I agree that any preliminary discussions I have with Simon are only for the purpose of considering whether I want to hire him to provide an opinion on my legal case. By these preliminary negotiation discussions I incur no fee or charge to myself, and make no commitment to hire his services. Until such time as we enter into a contract for an opinion (aka litigation assessment) and/or other specified services at an agreed and prepaid flat-rate fee, my communications with Simon do not constitute legal advice. I understand that Simon does not offer legal representation services, so at all times - regardless of whether or not I hire him for his opinion services - I remain solely responsible for conducting my own legal affairs.Simon's Rates and Payment Terms
Each case is different. I conduct a preliminary review of the case, and then quote a flat-rate fee for work that I think the case needs to present an opinion. Flat-rate means a lump sum fee, not an hourly rate. All fees require full prepayment of the agreed amount. No refunds. Payment is only by Interac (no Paypal). We don't have a contract, and I don't start working, until the agreed fees clear to my bank. All my pro bono (and reduced-rate) work goes to the website, and contingency terms are not available - so don't ask for either, they will be refused.
More Important Stuff Here
- What Legal Topics are Covered?
- Civil Litigation
Most of my civil litigation work is contract/tort/restitution actions, judicial review, civil appeals and a broad mix of areas such as constitutional, employment, consumer, crown liability and even animal law. There are some areas of civil litigation that I don't do: ie. construction liens, auto insurance and MVA accidents, family, real estate and estates.
- Administrative Tribunals
Most of my administrative tribunal litigation work is residential L&T, social assistance, ESA (employment), labour - and more of the roughly 50 tribunals that exist in Ontario and Canada. I don't do WSIB work but I can refer you to someone who does.
If you're not sure if I practice in a legal field, just ask at the start.
- Can I speak with Simon on the phone?
I have dysphasia (a speech condition) from a stroke in 2017. That makes practicing law difficult by voice, so I don't use voice for work. Also I prefer email as speech is transient and easily forgotten, whereas email provides a permanent verbatim record of our communications so both of us can verify what was said, which is so important in law.
- I Only Offer Full Opinions
I only provide opinions on full cases, not partial. I won't take a case on until you engage me for a full opinion from the start. This is especially of concern when you have a case that is already into appeal or judicial review stages - such cases need to be thoroughly researched before competent analysis and advice can be offered.
That said, this opinion service can include second opinions (ie. where you are already legally represented), either confidential from your existing lawyer or not - but the 'full opinion' rule still applies.
- What ID information do I have to provide if I hire Simon?
The Law Society has a rule that a lawyer cannot provide legal advice to an individual client without knowing the client's full name, address, phone number and occupation [ By-Law 7.1, Part III, s.23: Client Identification and Verification]. If the client is acting for or representing a third party, I need the same information for both of them. As well, I must know if you are over 18 years of age for legal competency issues. Business client ID requirements are more complex, we can discuss them at the time. Identification is also necessary to avoid the rare conflict of interest situation arising, ie. where I may already have advised or am advising other parties involved in your case.
- Verifying Simon
You can check my status as a lawyer with the Law Society of Ontario at this link: LSO #37308N.
- Solicitor-Client Privilege
Everything you and I say to each other in the course of case-related communications is covered by solicitor-client privilege, even if you do not hire me for services. Note that if you share our communications with other people you may be 'breaking privilege' which can result in our communications becoming evidence and/or known to opposing parties.