DOs and (please) DON'Ts When Writing Me for the First Time
(Apologies in Advance: Welcome to the Internet)
- Do Read the Content-Page Side-Bar Links
Many people that email me don't read the sidebar links off the content pages that explain what kind of services I provide and how my online practice works. Save us both some time and do that please.
- Don't Be Shocked When I Want to Get Paid for Working for You
Some people get offended when I tell them that legal advice is going to cost them money. If this is you and you want "free" legal services, go to any search engine and locate any of several generic North American legal websites that purport to offer free legal advice. If you hear back from them you'll get a heavily-qualified (count the weasel words) couple of paragraphs of general commentary on the area of law that you appear to be involved with. It will all sound nice and authoritative and be of next to zero use to you. Good luck with that.
- You Can't Be Anonymous
Some people don't give a name when they first write me. I've even had a few who feel - quite vehemently - that it is their right to keep their identity a secret from me.
You need to include the ID information that I must have in order to deal with you seriously. Rest assured that while the Law Society requires that I obtain this basic ID information to establish the identity of my client, the information stays with me. ALL ID information, just like the fact information and advice that we exchange, is covered by solicitor-client confidentiality - even if you do not hire me.
And don't even think about lying about your identity. That will void solicitor-client privilege and constitute criminal fraud. More significantly though I will both fire your lying ass and keep all of the money that you have paid me.
- DO NOT Write Me to 'Chat', Hoping for a Free Legal Consultation
This actually accounts for more than half of the 'first-time' emails that I receive. Some people seem to think that if they can just 'get me talking' about their situation, I somehow won't notice that they aren't paying me for a legal consultation.
Bad plan. If you want me to advise you personally, you have to pay. If you can't afford to pay, and are willing and eligible to use it, the main website contains a wealth of free legal information: Isthatlegal.ca Homepage. The website is my (very substantial and ongoing) contribution to free legal information, please do not ask me for more.
- Do Not Assume (or Pretend) That Your Legal Situation is Simple
Many, many people try to reduce a complex legal situation into one simple, yes/no question which they want me to answer for free or low-cost.
If you are thinking of asking any of the following questions, this may be you:
- "I don't want to waste a lot of your time but ..."
- "I just wanted to know if ..."
- "I just have a simple question ..."
- "I don't want advice, I just want some legal information ..."
It's my job to investigate your case and advise you, not to rely on your legal self-assessment of the situation. Such requests present a huge liability potential for me and - if answered (which they won't be) - would provide only useless information for the requester. While I keep my fees *well* below standard lawyer rates, legal situations are rarely simple, so don't waste your time and mine by kidding yourself that you can get by 'on the (super) cheap'. My rates are plenty cheap now, don't skimp where it matters.
IF your legal situation is truly simple, my fee quote will reflect that.