First off, get recommendations and make sure they’re active members of the Ontario bar association. You should also ask questions—and get full answers—on their experience, approach, the client’s involvement and their fees.
First Off: Get Recommendations
Ask people for recommendations. Listen closely to those that had a problem in the same legal area, were pleased with the outcome and felt well informed throughout the whole process.
Each province has its own provincial bar association. Call up yours and see if your lawyer is in fact registered to practice. Also, see what school they completed their degree at. If you don’t recognize your lawyer’s school, do some quick research to see what accreditations the school has.
Ask a lot of questions while you’ve got the person in front of you. Make sure they give full answers when addressing the following subjects: their experience with cases like yours, their approach, how involved you as the client will be and what their fee is. Pay particular attention to what experience they have—you want someone who knows what to expect in a case like yours.
Look Around the Room
What impression do you get from the lawyer’s office? Can you see the top of their desk or is it covered in papers and lunch leftovers? If you can’t stomach the room, chances are you’ll feel the same about the lawyer.
Make Eye Contact
Is the lawyer interrupting you every few minutes to answer the phone or check his BlackBerry? A good lawyer will shut off their email and cell phone and will give you their undivided attention for at least the amount of time it takes to explain your situation.
Go With Your Gut
Finally, pay attention to how the lawyer makes you feel. You’ll want to hire a lawyer that you are comfortable talking to. You need to be able to talk openly and honestly with your lawyer about all the details of your case.
Want to be even more prepared? Read our article on how to prepare for a first interview with a lawyer in London Ontario.