At Carr Paralegal we strive to provide answers to your questions. If there is something you want to know and don’t see an answer, please contact us.

1. Why choose a paralegal?

Paralegals are licensed legal professionals who are well trained and qualified for their permitted areas of practice, and are usually a more economical choice than hiring a lawyer.

 

  • Paralegals in Ontario must be licensed and are regulated by the Law Society of Upper Canada (just like lawyers).
  • Paralegals are required to meet educational and licensing requirements before receiving a license to provide legal services (just like lawyers).
  • Paralegals are required to complete annual Continuing Professional Development to keep their skills up to date (just like lawyers).
  • Paralegals are required to maintain Professional Liability/Errors and Omissions Insurance (just like lawyers).
  • Paralegals are specifically trained and licensed to provide services in Small Claims Court and Administrative Tribunals (not like lawyers).

 

Although lawyers can practice in the same areas as paralegals, they usually focus on other areas of law and usually have much higher fees.  This makes paralegals a more economical choice for matters within their scope of practice.

2. What is Small Claims Court?

Small Claims Court is a cost efficient Court with simplified rules that hears claims up to $25,000.  This limit (referred to as jurisdiction) covers the legal claims of many individuals and small businesses.

 

Common types of cases heard in Small Claims court include:

  • Unpaid debts
  • Unfulfilled contracts
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Damage to property

 

Claims for more than $25,000 must be filed in the Superior Court of Justice and cannot be handled by a paralegal, however because the costs to pursue a claim in Superior Court with a lawyer are so much higher it is common practice for plaintiffs with claims for slightly above $25,000 to reduce the amount they are claiming and proceed in Small Claims Court to save on fees (legal fees in Superior Court can easily reach $20,000).

 

If you think you have a case, or if you have been sued and need to file a defence in Small Claims Court, contact us for assistance.

3. Do you provide free consultations?

No we do not, except for limited phone consultations for tenants with Landlord & Tenant Board issues.  (see Free Tenant Consultation below for further details)

Free consultations often centre around three basic questions: Can the paralegal provide the services required by the client? What will the services cost? And what is the likely outcome of the client’s case?

If you have a legal concern, we are always happy to discuss whether or not we can help with this type of concern.  In some cases you may require the services of a lawyer (i.e. buying/selling real estate or making a will), or you may be better served by another paralegal firm with more experience in the subject area (i.e. traffic tickets).  This type of discussion is always free.

It is our belief and experience that the needs of many of our clients can be met with one in depth consultation, which we offer at a fixed rate of $150.  Because we are up front about this fee, you don’t need to come in for a free consultation to find out how much legal advice will cost you.

While free consultations may be appropriate and valuable for complex litigation cases, the procedures for Small Claims Court and most administrative tribunals are generally simpler and easier to review and explain.

The likely outcome of your case is a complicated subject that requires a review of your particular situation, any available documentation or evidence, applicable legislation, and even the information produced by the opposing party throughout the legal process (there are, after all, at least two sides to every story).  In addition to whether or not your case has merit, it is important to discuss what legal processes are required to achieve the final result.  Court fees, required documentation and evidence, the time required to complete the legal process, and how these fit into your specific life circumstances are also important factors in determining your best course of action.  It is not realistic to provide this level of analysis in the limited confines of a free consultation.

Free Tenant Consultation

We recognize that tenants faced with legal issues such as eviction may not have the financial capacity to hire a paralegal.  In these situations we will provide a free phone consultation to review your options and direct you to resources to help you proceed with a claim or response before the Landlord & Tenant Board on your own.  If further advice or assistance is required we will discuss costs for legal representation.

 

When faced with a legal question, knowledge is power – contact us today to find your best resolution!

 

4. What is included in the initial consultation? What do I get for $150?

When you schedule your initial consultation, we will collect some general information about your legal concern so that we can begin to prepare your file.  We will let you know what types of documents or information we will require to review your situation, and what documents should be provided to us before your consultation.

At your consultation we will hear your full story, and review your situation in full.  We will provide you with copies of relevant legislation, based on the information that you provided to us.  We will discuss options for resolving your situation and assist you in determining what is best for you.  Finally, we will assist with the drafting of initial documents.  This might mean drafting an outline of a demand letter or Court pleading, or reviewing and editing a document that you have already begun.

After our meeting you will receive a typed summary of the consultation as well as a typed copy of the document(s) we worked on.  These will usually be sent electronically, however they can also be sent by mail if that is your preference.

Before Consultation At Consultation After Consultation
– You provide basic information

– You provide requested documents

– We review your information and prepare a package with applicable legislation, processes, timelines and costs

– We prepare likely options for proceeding (i.e. mediation/negotiation, filing a claim with the Court or Tribunal, not proceeding with further action)

 

-You provide detailed information

-We discuss your legal rights and responsibilities

-We discuss options for proceeding, and the merits of each

-We provide information to empower you to proceed with your chosen course

-We determine if further legal assistance is required, and any associated costs. (Manypeople do not require further assistance, however it is an option for those who desire it.)

 

-We provide typed summary of advice and options

-We provide copies of draft documents

-We are available for further services if required

 

 

Contact us today to get the ball rolling!

5. What happens if you tell me I don’t have a case after my consultation?

One of the purposes of the initial consultation is to determine your best course of action after carefully considering all the facts of your particular situation.  You are paying for professional legal advice.

 

Sometimes after completing this analysis and weighing the pros and cons of proceeding with legal action, it might become clear that it is not in your best interests to go further with your action.  For example we may have uncovered clauses in contracts that protect the other party from liability, or perhaps it looks like you may win a moral victory but are unlikely to be able to recover funds from the other party.

 

Even if you do the work yourself, it takes time and money to file a claim with a Court or Tribunal.  There are costs to file the documents, and if you are unsuccessful in your claim you may be ordered to pay for the other party’s legal costs.   Although it is disappointing to hear that your case is not as strong as you originally thought, avoiding a legal process that will not produce the outcome you are hoping for will ultimately save you time, money, and prolonged frustration.

 

You will still receive the full benefit of our professional legal advice, and if it is appropriate we will still assist in the drafting of correspondence geared toward negotiating an alternative resolution to the situation.

 

Contact us today to find out if your situation is one we can help with – it’s always free to ask!

6. When do I have to pay?

We do not ask for payment in advance.  You will be provided with an invoice when we have completed our work for you.  The invoice is payable upon receipt and we appreciate your prompt payment.  For initial consultations, payment should be made on the date of the consultation.  The typed summary of advice and draft documents may not be provided to you until payment has been received.

We accept payment by cash (exact change only), cheque, or Interac e-transfer.  Payment can also be made by credit card or Interac Flash (debit tap) for amounts up to $100.

7. Do you work on a contingency basis?

No, we do not.  If you will be unable to pay for services in full at the time that they are provided, we can work with you to determine a different payment schedule.  We will be happy to discuss this with you when you contact us to book your initial consultation.  We believe that legal advice should be accessible to everyone and will do our best to develop a solution that works for your situation.

8. What if need representation after the initial consultation? What are your rates?

Many clients are able to resolve their situation on their own after being empowered with professional advice, information, and a helping hand to start them on their way.  Your problem may be more complex or you may simply prefer further assistance – either way, we are happy to help.  We will provide estimates specific to your situation during your initial consultation, however some common fees are included here:

Filing a Statement of Claim or Defence in Small Claims Court – $100-$200

Drafting/Filing a Motion – $75-$150

Attending Settlement Conference – starting at $200

Representation at Trial – starting at $400

The cost will depend on the complexity of your case and how much work is required beyond that completed in the initial consultation, and will be determined at your consultation and confirmed before we do any further work.

Our fees cover our labour and general operating expenses, but do not include disbursements.  Disbursements are specific costs that we have to pay in order to complete a task for you, for example Court filing fees or costs to obtain needed documents, and will be added to your invoice. We do not make any profit from disbursements.

Litigation is unpredictable and will sometimes require hourly billing instead of flat rate billing, however we will do our best to provide you with flat rate estimates whenever possible.

Whatever stage you are at with your case, contact us today to find out how we can help!

Please note that the flat rate fees listed above are based on cumulative service to you.  If you contact us for assistance after commencing an action on your own, it may take additional time to familiarize ourselves with your case and additional fees may apply.

9. Do I need to go to Court? (I hear that is expensive.)

If you have heard that going to Court is expensive, you have heard mostly right – trial is the most time consuming and expensive way to resolve a case.  Luckily it is not the only way.  We will work with you get your matter resolved fairly as quickly and efficiently as possible, but we are prepared and equipped to represent you through a trial if necessary.

If a trial is necessary, you may be able to recover some or all of your legal fees from the other side.  There may be parts of the process that you feel comfortable handling on your own, and we welcome your active participation (This also reduces your legal fees).  We will work with you to provide as much or as little support as you need.

With a 45 minute initial consultation, you will be on the right track to choose the best path forward.

10. Can you swear my affidavit/form?

As Commissioners for Oaths or Commissioners for taking Affidavits, we can swear affidavits and other forms that need be sworn in front of a commissioner.

We charge $26.55 + HST, which comes to a tidy $30 for in-office appointments.

On-site appointments are available at a location convenient to you for a fee of $44.25 + HST ($50).

Additional documents or signatures are $8.85 +HST ($10) each.

You will need to show photo ID when you swear your document.

Contact us today to book an appointment!