Business Law Review
Sophisticated Client A sophisticated Client understands the role of the lawyer and the client. And sophisticated client also has an
understanding of when to represent him/herself, when to hire a lawyer, and how to hire a lawyer. Also the client
understands what actions can be taken with the dissatisfied conduct of their lawyer. Three major components are:
The law will protect you from people who try to take advantage of you.
The law is sophisticated
So, too, must you be.
The Role of the Lawyer The Role of the lawyer is to present the client with legal advice relevant to the clients situation. While lawyers are
typically experts in their area of practice, and may be able to provide invaluable assistance to their clients, lawyers
are simply providers of advice. They are hired by the client who provides them with instructions and the lawyer is
bound to follow these instructions, provided they are lawful. An emphasis on one aspect of the client-lawyer
relationship is that no advice is appropriate unless the lawyer has received all information.
Solicitor-Client Privilege Refers to the duty of the lawyerto keep all information provided by the client confidential. It is thus fundamental to
our legal system, as without it the access to justice would be significantly reduced. Most lawyers will advise their
clients about solicitor-client privilege and encourage their clients to disclose all relevant information.
Solicitor-Client When to hire a lawyer:
Relationship (small The first thing the owner should do is considered how he will organize his business i.e. Sole proprietor; will
business) he have a partner will the business be operated as a franchise? A lawyer can provide information and advice
that will help the owner make decisions appropriate for achieving his objectives.
If the owner is purchasing an existing business, the lawyer can provide advice and information that will
enable the owner to minimize his potential risk and liability.
The lawyer can, of course, determine the relevant municipal, provincial and federal laws that are relevant to
the business and provide advice required to ensure compliance with them. This could cover everything
from obtaining a business license to complying with municipal noise bylaws, to satisfying provincial and
federal environmental standards.
When to represent yourself:
If you need to make a business decision, and you do not retain a lawyer, then you will either not be
considering relevant legal information when you are making your decision or you will be obtaining it
yourself. For small insignificantdecisions it may be appropriate to avoid taking the time to find relevant
legal information. However, in most cases it would be beneficial to proceeding only after completing some
research of the relevant law. Anyone with computer access and access to the Internet can find legal
information online. A sophisticated client will capitalize on this, she will use the sources provided to answer
her current legal questions only hiring a lawyer if absolutely necessary.
Important to note not all-online information is true.
Other distinguishing factors that determine when to or not hire a lawyer are the time and costs incurred if a lawyer is
consulted for assistance or representation in making a particular business decision. Small Claims court (limited to
25,000 in winnings). Anything greater than this is taken to a superior court and thats when a lawyer should be
retained. In a small claims court a lawyer may be retained due to the complexity of the case, but a sophisticated client
will understand if the cost of one is worth it. If you break the law and harm someone else, there will likely be two
different legal proceedings. First there will be a criminal prosecution in which you will be charged by the
government (state) with committing a crime. If you are convicted, you will be punished and have a criminal record.
The civil litigations may take place in a small claims court, where you will most likely represent yourself. If the
litigation involves an amount of money greater than the monetary jurisdiction of small claims court you should then
hire a lawyer to represent you, as the trial will take place in a superior court.
How to Find a good The first step in finding a good lawyer is to make a list of lawyers. This is easily done through most readily available
Lawyer resources in your home:
Or referrals from trusted friends or relatives.
Another source is the names in the provincial law society. The organizations are self-governing bodies of lawyers.
Once you have the name of the lawyer near you who practices the type of law relevant to your situation, you should
set up a meeting for an initial consultation. During this time it is best also to confirm the costs that will be charged.
Also during this time both the plaintiff and the lawyer will decide if they are suitable for each other.
There are several advantages to maintaining a relationship with your lawyer. The lawyer will know and understand
you and your business which will able her to provide you with legal advice more efficiently cutting costs. Also it will
enable her to customize her legal advice, so that it will be even more useful to you when you are making your
Legal Aid You are eligible for legal aid if you have legal problems and you cant afford a lawyer. Legal Services Society (LSS)
may pay for legal problems involving criminal charges, mentalhealth and prison issues, serious family problems,
child protection matters, or immigration problems. To receive legal aid, a client must meet certain financial guidelines involving household income and assets. Furthermore, if you collect money as a result of the settlement or
judgment, you will probably have to repay some or all of the benefits you received from legal aid. Duty council is
court lawyers who assist individuals who are not represented by a lawyer. Duty council may be available in criminal
courts, family and immigration courts. The assistance of a duty council is considered legal advice, not legal
representation. In a duty court, duty council may provide advice to an accused about the charges he faces, the
relevant court procedures, and his legal rights.
How Lawyers Bill their There are three main ways lawyers will calculate there fees:
Clients First, the lawyer may charge a fixed fee for the work required,regardless of the time involved. This is often
used in specific tasks like creating a will, purchasing a house, or incorporating a business.
Secondly, the lawyer may bill the client for all of the time she spends on the activity; with the hourly rate
depending on numbers of years the lawyer has been in practice.
Third, the lawyer may receive a percentage of the amount the client collects, either through a settlement or
a court judgment. This contingency fee agreement usually happens when a client does not have enough
funds to pay the lawyer at the beginning of the case.
In addition to paying for the lawyers time, the client is also responsible for disbursements that are the out of pocket
costs incurred by the lawyer on the clients behalf (filing documents, long distance phone charges, courier charges, fee
charged by an expert for testifying, and photocopying costs). In most cases the lawyer will ask for a retainer (initial
deposit into trust account) from the client before she commences work.
How to Complain about Fee Mediation Service a neutral mediator who tries to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution of dispute.
your lawyer Court Officials t