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Knowing When You Need a Lawyer
Knowing when to seek a professional's assistance is half the battle. One way of deciding is to consider whether other people have an interest in your legal matter. For example, let's say you have a serious problem with your employer and need to take legal action. Most attorneys representing employees do so because they understand that non-unionized employees are relatively powerless against employers.

While you may be caught up in a serious employment dispute only once or twice in your lifetime, some larger employers and their attorneys handle many employment disputes every single day. Most employers have much more experience and resources than you to evaluate and handle claims. An employee who has not consulted an attorney can be at a real disadvantage.

Succeeding in an employment lawsuit without a lawyer (called filing "pro se") is virtually impossible. Besides knowing the law (only some of which is covered elsewhere on this website) and the associated court procedures, an attorney will know what information you need to win, how to get it, how to present witnesses and documents to the court and jury, and how to prevent a company and its attorneys from using unfair tactics to win the case. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you will win and save yourself some attorneys fees by taking the case to trial by your self. You could end up with nothing. Worse, you might end up having to pay your employer for the expenses they incurred in defending your lawsuit.

Legal Ethics and Professional Standards
Lawyer jokes aside, attorneys are licensed professionals. When you consult an attorney, you are benefiting from his or her law school education and know that he or she has passed a rigorous Bar examination, prior to being licensed to practice law. You'll know how many years your attorney has practiced, in what area(s) of law, by reviewing their Web site, professional resume or curriculum vitae. And you'll be able to confirm their membership in their provincial Bar and, in many cases, will be able to see if they have had any discipline problems with the provincial Bar. Further, many attorneys maintain professional errors and omissions insurance and many provincial Bar associations maintain client recovery funds, so there will be a way for you to recover in the unlikely event your attorney makes a mistake that costs you money.

Attorneys also take classes in legal ethics. In our example about starting a new business, above, we kept it simple by talking about just one attorney. But keep in mind, one lawyer can't advise both parties whose interests are adverse. So our attorney in the example can represent the business by advising its officers and/or directors (corporation), or managing members (LLC). But when the interests of an individual officer, director or member becomes distinct from the interests of the business (e.g., when an individual wants to leave and is negotiating the sale of his or her share), that individual needs to retain his own counsel because the business' attorney cannot simultaneously represent both sides.

Finding the Right Lawyer
The two most important considerations are a) Where (what jurisdiction) is the attorney licensed to practice and b) what area of law does the attorney specialize in?

Attorneys are licensed by provincial Bar associations. So generally, an attorney representing a client in a given province, about a matter controlled by that provincial's laws or dealing with people, property or occurrences within that province, must be licensed by that province. There are exceptions, such as attorneys practicing exclusively under federal law, or staff attorneys employed by government agencies. But know that you'll need to consider what province the attorney is licensed in.

Attorneys also tend to specialize in certain areas of the law because the law is so broad that it's not possible for one person to know it all. By selecting an attorney who is already experienced in the area of law where you need help, you benefit from all his or her experience focused on that one, specialized area.

An added consideration is the size of the law firm. In many cases, large law firms are more expensive than smaller ones. But larger firms are frequently better able to handle complex matters involving multiple legal areas, and larger litigation cases, where a team of lawyers and support staff are necessary to adequately address the problem.

You can use the following search box to locate an attorney or law firm specializing in a particular area of law, in a particular city or province. This specialized search is both powerful and comprehensive, because it searches multiple attorney directories and thousands of law firm Web sites in a fraction of a second.

Below search only applies to Lawyers, Barristers, Solicitors, Notaries, Attorneys, and Bailiffs who paid the annual membership. Complete listing of all participating professionals across Canada can be viewed. ( membership is a prerequisite ).

(Important: To ensure you have access to all professionals, always enter a Province - 3rd search field and do NOT enter other fields )


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e-Court was incorporated during 2010 under the Canada Corporations Act. The company is an independent group of experienced professionals like (former) lawyers, barristers, solicitors or attorneys, judges, university professors, industry and other legal interest groups. e-Court aims to provide competent, affordable, secure, transparent and speedy justice for everyone.

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