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How do I find a lawyer?
Here are a few ways to find a lawyer:
What should I look for in a lawyer?
Most lawyers offer a free consultation. They will briefly listen to your problem and tell you if they are qualified to help you. They must tell you if they are not qualified to help you.
It is important to find a lawyer who practices the type of law related to your situation. For example, if you need help with the immigration process, you need a lawyer who practices immigration law.
You might prefer to find a lawyer who speaks your first language.
You should also feel comfortable with your choice of lawyer. If you don't feel comfortable after the consultation, call another lawyer.
Law Society Referral Service (LSRS)
The Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) is an online service making it possible for residents of Ontario to obtain referrals online, 24 hours a day. The online request, the referral process, and your initial consultation of up to 30 minutes are free.
The consultation is meant to help you determine your rights and options. You should not expect to receive legal representation or free legal work during this time. You may ask the Legal Information Officers what your legal costs may be. You can ask the LSRS to find a lawyer who speaks your first language.
You do not have to hire the person you are referred to as your lawyer. You cannot, however, ask the LSRS for a second referral for the same legal problem. You can only call them once for a referral for the same issue.
You can also use this service if you are in a crisis situation, for example, if you are in a shelter, in jail, or have no fixed address. In these cases call 1-855-947-5255 Monday - Friday between 9 am - 5 pm. Tell the LSRS if you cannot wait 3 days for a referral or if you cannot safely receive a return phone call.
Trained Legal Information Officers assist callers in need through the crisis line. The crisis line is intended for people who are unable to use the online service, such as those in custody, in a shelter or in a remote community without access to the internet.
For More Information
- Justice Ontario - This website has information about Ontario's legal system, including family and criminal law, lawsuits, human rights, wills and estates, and tickets and fines. You can get legal information in over 170 languages.
- Law Society of Ontario (LSO) - The governing body for Ontario lawyers. The LSO 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.
- 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.
- Connect Legal - is a registered charity that provides legal education and assistance to low-resource immigrants who want to launch and grow their independent businesses.
- JusticeNet - A not-for-profit service helping people in need of legal expertise, whose income is too high to access legal aid and too low to afford standard legal fees.
- CLEO - Legal Services Information - Clear language publications on getting legal help.
February 24, 2016