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  • lawyer - 1st consults costs???

    Question to all
    Have you found many "full out" divorce only lawyers that do not give the "free" first consult to see if the fit is right before starting the big shell out of cash? There is two listed divorce specialissts here in Kingston. I had the return call for the first today.

    $400 to sit down. (A few extra minutes if required - no extra charge) I admit i need the help and I am getting into my head that get in front of a judge will cost 15 to 20K. The clerk I spoke with said, "I really do not think there is many lawyers here in town that do the free consults anymore!" I was at a super stressed moment when she called (always the way I guess) and i did tell her that i knew it was going to take money - but I didn't have $400 a shot to sit in front of say three or four Lawyers to see if I can find the right one...... One that left me comfortable with their experience in the more complicated disability issues I face. I shudder to think of a lawyer having to bill for time to learn and represent the disability issues that are part of my case - any where near $400 and I mideaswell go find a gun now! (just in case that would be a self inflicted wound in the backside where my wallet used to sit in my back pocket!

    Seriously - I would have liked to know if a lawyer has the specific experience at their rates - and more important - what their policy is for billing the learning part - if that was what is was going to take.

    So does anybody have a take on the first consult fees when they did their searches?? (this maybe because Kingston isn't huge and there is only two official divorce specialists listed with the Canadian Law Society......

  • #2
    Something else to consider is looking into another community. The bulk of the legal work is not outside of a lawyers office or telephone. I wouldn't hesitate to look in the Ottawa area.

    And yes the first half should be a free consult! Lawyers make me sick to my stomach.


    • #3
      I would not hire someone who charges me to evaluate them.

      Free consult or forget it!

      If not then they are truly and absolutely just care about billing, not working with you.


      • #4
        ddol1, try calling Eccelstone & Ecclestone in Kingston, they have various lawyers at different levels, so of course costs are different and they are reasonable and will sit down with you prior to signing anything.


        • #5
          Agreed, I honestly feel I got more use out of the free advice I got from 2-3 lawyers over the phone at the start then I did when I finally chose one and retained her for a year. At critical points I actually took MORE free consults with other lawyers to get their opinions on my case and to "double check" that my own lawyer was on the right path. Each time my lawyer "passed". Other professionals outlined the same actions for the situation when I explained it to them. Naturally I didn't tell them I had already retained someone else


          • #6
            must - ask regarding the Ecclestone firm. Was there anything that you were atracted to when it came to strictly family law? I suppose if your case was a hotly disputed one - if you didn't mind answering? This is whare i think i have to be careful and take every step I can to get a repesentative that is good at getting to the bottom of disputes and getting a settlement without spending the 20k each...


            • #7
              I just spoke to the second person at the expensive? form. I told them of my needing to spend every penny to get results and I really do not have the spare money to do superficial top level reviews - unless there is expertise in the very areas that I need - we do not have a simple property division (not including the kids which in our case - they are older and can chose for themselves)

              So they have an info sheet that gets down to business and I was offered to have answered as many specific questions before hand and by the time our meeting is on I will know if there is a real good fit - before I sit down. I like this as it allows me to break up a few things and judge them by their answers - If it means anything - they are booked solid for three weeks and she pointed out that 3 weeks is short for them often it is longer.


              • #8
                Originally posted by billm View Post
                I would not hire someone who charges me to evaluate them.

                Free consult or forget it!

                If not then they are truly and absolutely just care about billing, not working with you.
                Very few lawyers give a free one hour consult nowadays. Generally because a lot of the time they give the free hour of their time, and the client foregoes their services. Plus, you get 2-3 of those a day (or even 3-4 a week), and your billings are going through the floor.

                SOME lawyers in my firm are willing to forego a fee for a consult. Generally they are personal injury lawyers who are determining the reasonability of the claim. Others are junior lawyers who are willing to forego some initial fees to build their client base.

                There are instances where family or friends of good clients who are referred to the firm are given a pass on an initial consult fee out of goodwill to existing client.

                Personally, I wouldn't want a lawyer giving out too many free hours. Why? Because that could take their time away from my file and I am a paying client.


                • #9
                  oddly the last post - well settled things for me I think. If it rings true that by the hour makes the hour a value of information and a solid cost effective way of getting this done - then money well spent.

                  To be honest the lawyer i sat down with wasn't very focused or might i say presented withself with a ton of confedence aside from follow me as we go through who knows what hoops and as long as you have $1500 to $2500 a hoop we will do - i really would hate to say fine!!!

                  I really hope for a _yes I dealt with this and that - three times last year.....I am up on current case law in those areas and the point that I could stop hunting would be someone who would spell out exacly what they would have to do to get the missing pieces, what would it take and how long in hours ($$$). I hope that they have the ability to search current case law much more effieciently than entering a string of words in the CANLII search window and start reading for a month - the cash would be gone even before starting.

                  I admit I am green at this so this abovve can be taken as a green simplistic outlook on a tough road ahead. And yes I have actually looked at the numbers again, the points of objection (which happen to be every point I found to be applicable)......... take away anything that is not absolute - look at only what is left that will be on my side of the excluded ledger and it will be the difference in not only now but in the years of "real retirement". so I think I have posted this before but the lawyer thing - it looks like it will be a 10-1 thing 10 grand for a hundred and 20k for the harder 2nd hundred K. - oh and too much time and too much strain on the whole family. (enough typing - wish everyone all their dreams and happiness come true.


                  • #10
                    We've spent most of our adult lives concentrating on growing our wealth and making retirement plans. Now that the monkey is loose and plans have changed, it seems to me that it is in my best interest to have the best of the best to protect what I have worked towards the last 20 years.

                    I don't want a junior, or some midlevel who needs to learn, by offering free consults. With experience, comes cost. I've retained a lawyer and I haven't even met her. We talked on my cell phone when I was at a horse show for all of 4 minutes. However, she comes highly recommended, when I look at Canlii I see her name all over the place. That's all I need to know.

                    I plan on managing my own file. I will draft the separation agreement, and for the most part draft the correspondence. I need her letterhead for correspondence and, of course, her advice when asked.

                    I didn't even ask if she would do a free consult. I plan on communicating via email and phone, we probably won't even have met each other when the initial settlement offer is sent.
                    Start a discussion, not a fire. Post with kindness.


                    • #11
                      I congradulate you on having your head on straight.

                      I seem to find (I may be a mile off here) but there is many here who are taking their destiny into their own hands, they know their life, they have the passion where the flip side is the person who will hopefully do it by the boring numbers and get things done that way. I also have been told that the more work we do and the better we hand over our file info the better the chance of any lawyer at least being on your page and greatly limiting their exposure to hefty discovery bills.

                      So is your situation one of agreement - straight forward money issues (I always think of the kidds completely seperated - they are more they're priceless). You mention you plan on doing the typing and setting out the seperation agreement which is great. Advice on getting there? Say just to the seperation agreement which for me this would be information that may help a huge amount today.

                      Just trying to get her to acknowledge that a interm agreement needs to be done to get through what will be a long while - she is making the money these days and alone I do not make enough to cover my bills alone let alone keeping the house going and I realize that is the premise for spousal support - but we are a long way from that and it doesn't help me today. In reflecting this it brings to light to me on how difficult it can be for a spouse with very little to no income, no resources, no nothing and have to support a family with a deadbeat runoff spouse leaving their family high and dry.

                      The following is related to the post regarding - finding that right Lawyer. I am answering a question in a prelim statement prior to our consult so we can all be on the same page when that comes. As I answered this I ended up with what follows (and it highlights the hurdles that must be navigated before i beleive we would be able to do anything at all)

                      The question is, "What, or why do you think you need a divorce lawyer today and what will you need from us?

                      My hurdle is summed up in the relavation of my wife, "you are trying to find money where there is none - I spent it! It is all gone!!" She thinks the 1/2 house is hers and it can't be touched by LAW - she thinks the calculation of net familly proprerty, is simple - half the house, half the rrsp's and well she spent the rest. She thinks judges and the various applicable acts are not for her - not applicable. Read something like the Ontario Family Law Act - a waste of her prescious time which she uses to play games and chat facebook stuff - she read the two or three pages she felt like...... later adding besides I don't even understand what it all means!


                      • #12
                        sorry this was a double post - so i tried to get rid of it
                        Last edited by ddol1; 08-25-2011, 02:19 AM. Reason: double post


                        • #13
                          it has been a while but did get news on the pay before we go approach - what I have read just in this thread alone has me in a different frame of mind - the right lawyer - what is a consult fee in the end? My interaction with the firm i mentioned above.... they were willing to entertain a few directed questions re my concerns. First a basic one and the second down to business. Did this firm have any "experience" dealing with the specific area of Family Law that includes money obtained from an injury settlement, and the resultant damage awards that is, slightly more involved, but simply is the money that came in the form of various settlement benefits that included a "in lieu cash settlement" that saw me return to techinical schooling for four years?

                          Straight forward and this particular Lawyer replied with our firm has never been invovled in any areas you describe that would be part of the sect 4(2) and sect 5(6) of the Family Law act. As such they would prefer to step down from representation of my case. Fair. I have spoken with quite a few since just asking if any lawyer had some interest in these areas and have not had a positive response yet.

                          Had two that actually admitted that the level of importance of these elements is to my settlement - They have never come across any individual that has had even come close to the level of claims that are in question. Admittidly frustrated, I asked for help in plain English. Response "condensed and combined" was that indeed I have done a pretty good job of uncovering my particulars and the level of requirement to represent an individual that in effect has spent the last 25 years just coping with an injury that has resulted in so many surgeries and the resulting claims for damages is at a level we just havent seen let alone represented - we have no practical experience and would need to start at the very beginning.

                          Understood - I translated the responses as the amount of time for them to get to the level required to represent would be extremely costly. I never anticipated this problem - lots of people have had similar issues in their lives. I am not unique. But getting representation is another story - I admit that we are not rich and the money pot is limited - but it is well within the level of our assets we have today so I continue the search.


                          • #14
                            I just had to post - well, so frickin close and this phone interview was going better than perfect. I asked my tough questions and she had really good answers right off the bat. Then the lawyer said, I remember you...... we met in duty council. Was I ever.......

                            My heart sunk as I said, yes, "I met one female Lawyer and she point blank said to me", the lawyer broke in and said, "Without question, you "Need to get Representation".

                            This Lawyer was on the ball back then and still is today over the phone!! In closing, if that means anything, "She remembered that I had gathered significant issues and asked very explicit questions that gave her the room to actually provide council - what I had uncovered back then was very clearly one sided to my favour and now that I have put together pretty clear paper trails it should make it all that much more straight forward. Go figure with the amount of lawyers I have spkoken with and to discover today my luck in having met this one particular Lawyer in Duty Council so long ago....


                            • #15
                              Sounds like that's your lawyer.


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