How do I work effectively with a lawyer?

Learn what your lawyer can do for you, and prepare well for your meetings.

Everything that you tell your lawyer is strictly confidential. This means that your lawyer cannot tell anyone else what you have said. You need to tell your lawyer the full truth about your situation so that she or he can help you.

Learn What Your Lawyer Can Do for You

It is important to have a realistic idea of what your lawyer can do for you. Here are some tips:

  • Learn about the court system in Ontario.
  • Discuss your goals and concerns with your lawyer.
  • If you do not understand what your lawyer is telling you, ask questions until you understand.
  • Each time you have to make a decision, make sure that you understand your options and the possible outcomes.

Prepare for Your Meetings

Lawyers are often very busy and may charge you for all of the time that they spend on your case. If you are well-prepared, your meetings might be shorter and you could save money. Here are some tips:

  • Write down your questions or concerns before your meeting.
  • Keep all documents related to your case organized and in a safe place. Make a list of all of the documents so that you can find them easily when you need them.
  • Respond to your lawyer's questions with direct, detailed and full answers.
  • Take notes during your meetings. Or, ask someone you trust to take notes so you can focus on the conversation.

If You Are Not Satisfied With Your Lawyer

If you are not satisfied with your lawyer, or if you believe your lawyer acted unprofessionally, you can make a complaint. For more information, read How do I complain about a lawyer?

For More Information

  • LawHelpOntario.org - This website has information about how to find lawyer and how to work effectively with a lawyer. It also has resources for those who cannot afford a lawyer or who do qualify for legal aid.
  • Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) - The governing body for Ontario lawyers. The Law Society regulates the practice of law in Ontario and protects members of the public when they hire a lawyer.
  • Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) - Provides access to legal services for people who are unable to afford them on their own. The website includes the LAO newsletter, publications, frequently asked questions and Legal Aid clinic listings.
  • Getting Legal Help: A Directory of Community Legal Clinics in Ontario - A clear language listing of Community Legal Clinics (CLCs) across Ontario and their areas of practice. From CLEO - Community Legal Education Ontario.
Last updated: October 29, 2015 4001000