Finding a Lawyer
How can I find a lawyer?
Finding the best lawyer for your legal situation is very important. Here are some sources you may find useful:
- ask family, friends or colleagues if they know a lawyer who can assist you with your particular legal issue;
- talk to professionals or groups and agencies in the community who have experience in dealing with people who have the same legal issue that you face;
- look in the Yellow Pages under “Lawyers”;
- check the Law Society’s online Lawyers’ Directory that provides an up-to-date listing of lawyers practicing in the province along with contact information;
- contact Public Legal Information Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PLIAN), a service that helps to increase the public’s access to justice and its understanding of the law. These services include a lawyer referral service and a legal information line. Information can be obtained by calling 722-2643 or toll-free at 1-888-660-7788.
- contact the Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission if you have limited financial resources. Information can be obtained by calling 753-7860 or toll-free at 1-800-563-9911.
Your first contact with a lawyer will usually be by telephone. During the conversation you may be able to determine whether or not you would feel comfortable working with that lawyer to resolve your legal problem.
To assist you in deciding whether to set up a meeting with a lawyer, it would be helpful to know:
- Does the lawyer have the experience to handle your legal issue?
- What type of fee does the lawyer charge?
- Is the lawyer available immediately and does he or she have the time to take on your legal matter?
How will I know if I have chosen the right lawyer?
The first lawyer you meet may not be the one best suited to assist you with your legal matter. It is important that you choose a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable.
Before making your decision, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is the lawyer genuinely interested in my problem?
- Did the lawyer ask relevant questions and fully understand my case?
- Did the lawyer explain my options and allow me to make choices?
- Did the lawyer answer all of my questions and explain what needs to be done in terms I understand?
- Did the lawyer and the lawyer’s staff treat me with respect?
- Can I afford the lawyer’s fees?
If you do not feel confident that you and the lawyer can work together to accomplish your goals, it is advisable to contact another lawyer.
It sometimes happens that, after your first meeting, the lawyer may decide not to represent you. This may occur for reasons such as the lawyer being in a conflict of interest or it may occur because the lawyer believes that you and he or she may not be able to work well together.
What should I do before meeting with a lawyer?
The types of legal matters for which the public may require a lawyer can be broad-ranging, from simple and straightforward to very complex legal issues.
To prepare for your first meeting, it would be helpful to do the following:
- write down your contact information and that of others involved in your legal matter;
- know what you want your lawyer to help you achieve;
- think clearly about how to communicate the important points;
- gather documents relating to your matter and organize them in a logical order;
- write down everything you know about the situation; provide details of your side of the story; be truthful and as accurate and complete as possible;
- include the important people, dates, times and witnesses, if any;
- prepare a written list of questions you wish to ask your lawyer;
- make a copy for yourself of the materials you will be giving to your lawyer; you may need to refer to them later.