How Do Lawyer Consultations Work?

Confused by the process for lawyer consultations? ClearWay Law books many consultations for people that need to speak with family lawyers every week. Potential clients always have the same question, so we thought we would put together this question and answer.

The first thing you need to know when reaching out to a law firm is that almost every single caller thinks their legal matter is simple and should be cheap. Lawyers charge between $250-450/hour and often require money up front, which is called a retainer. Clients sign a retainer agreement and provide a retainer amount, if required.

You need to decide if your matter is simple or if you want to take the risk and do it yourself. If you don’t want to do it yourself, be prepared to pay for a lawyer. Keep in mind that the average family law file in Canada (across all law firms) is $5000.

Family Law Domestic Agreements

Lawyer Consultations

Most domestic agreements such as marriage agreements, separation agreements, and cohabitation agreements cost between $2500-3000. We understand that there are templates out there, or new lawyers, that can do it for very cheap. Our law firm does not use templates. We won’t just change a name or two and send it out. We create agreements that are tailored to our clients. Those lawyers or template companies also don’t include the costs of doing things such as:

  • Negotiation between the two parties
  • Providing financial disclosure
  • Independent legal advice

Creating a domestic agreement is just part of the process. Most of those low cost providers are only doing part of the work. After they are done they either charge you extras, or refer you to a law firm like ours, where you will have to pay extra.

If you do the domestic agreement incorrectly and it doesn’t hold up in court, you might expect to pay $10,000+ on family law litigation fees. We encourage you to spend $2500-3000 on a domestic agreement and do it right the first time.

What Is A Retainer?

Retainers are charged to clients because some, not all, clients are dishonest. They want to use a lawyer and then not pay them in the end. Law firms have rent, staff, phone bills, and other costs and cannot afford to work for free. Retainers are to ensure clients don’t “dine and dash.”

ClearWay Legal Consultations

You’re going the wrong way, let us show you the ClearWay. The system for lawyer consultations is simple. You will first book a 15-minute free phone consultation with our intake team. These people are most often not lawyers, so don’t start asking complicated legal questions.

The purpose of the 15-minute consultation is to get all your information, all the information about your case, make sure you can afford a lawyer, and find out which one of our lawyers are closest to you. Our law firm has many different law offices, and we will connect you to a lawyer that:

  • Fits your budget
  • Is near you
  • Is available to help (sometimes lawyers go to court for weeks)
  • Does the area of law you need

If we can help you, you will book a meeting with a lawyer who will assist you with your case. You will need to bring ID and a credit card. They will explain the retainer agreement to you, and if you sign, they will begin to work on your case.

If you would like to book a legal consultation, call us toll free at 1-844-466-6529

Common Questions In Lawyer Consultations:

What Is A Marriage Agreement?

Separation Agreement, What Is It?

Common Law Relationships

Learn more about family law on our YouTube channel.

Asking Questions At The Lawyer Consultations

Many people think the consultation is the time to ask the lawyer lots of questions. This is not true. The consultation is about getting a feel for if the lawyer is the right one for you. The lawyer is also trying to figure out if you will make a good client or if you will be trouble. A lot of clients come to law firm’s with issues, and the lawyer wants to make sure the client doesn’t cause drama at the law firm.

The best use of your time is to explain in detail the issues you are having. The lawyer can then explain the process for solving the issue. It’s also good to ask questions about the attorney’s background. Don’t be shy. Lawyers are used to answering personal questions (but keep it professional please.) If your issue is family law related, ask how many family law files the lawyer is currently working on.

Common Questions We Get Asked During Lawyer Consultations

Where is your Office Location?

  • Downtown Toronto (University Avenue)
  • Bay Street
  • North York (two different law offices)
  • New Market (Monday only)
  • Scarborough 
  • Mississauga
  • Vaughan
  • Ottawa, ON
  • Duncan, BC

What are your Business Hours?

9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday to Friday (Most offices)

9:00 am to 9:00 pm Monday to Sunday (Vaughan office)

What Services do you provide?

  • Family law (our focus)
  • Immigration
  • Will and estate planning
  • Estate litigation
  • Business Law (Toronto only)
  • Criminal Law (Ottawa Only)

Do you offer free consultation?

We offer 15 minutes free phone consultation only for general questions with non-lawyer;

If need legal advice, two family lawyers and one business lawyer offer 30 minutes free consultation; others charge hourly rate.  

Do you offer flat fee?

Only for File Simple Divorce:   $1700 flat fee + HST + third party disbursement (court fee, process server, courier etc. )

Do you take legal aid?

Only if they have certificate (only two lawyer accept) and only in Toronto.

How to pay legal fee?

We accept: credit card, direct deposit, and e-transfer.

Do you take contingency file?

Not allowed in family law in Ontario, possible in BC if lawyer and the court approves

Do you accept payment plan?

Yes, but only case by case —- unbundled service