There are many times in our lives when we experience problems that are beyond our grasp, where we need to speak to a professional.
If your car breaks down, you want a mechanic. If furnace dies, you need an HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) technician. If you develop health issues, you turn to your Family Doctor. In the legal system, you have a broader choice of legal representation for many matters in Ontario. In Ontario, you can choose to hire a Lawyer or a Paralegal.
As technology advances and we become more and more specialized in what we do, it becomes easier for each of us to understand the value of knowledge. Like your auto mechanic, your family doctor or your HVAC technician, lawyers and paralegals offer specialized knowledge that can help you resolve your legal problems. Browne & Associates Legal Services Professional Corporation is owned and operated by experienced paralegals that have practiced in the province of Ontario. We also connect to lawyers that may be able to assist you in resolving legal issues that as paralegals, we cannot become directly involved in.
Many of us begin our searches on Google, which may or may not be a good source to address your problem. Many legal blog sites may include references to situations that are similar to yours, but you may not know for sure until you speak to one of us.
Depending on your issue, a paralegal may be the legal professional you need. For example, if you have a matter with any federal or provincial tribunal, each of which deal with a variety of matters (such as disability appeals, human rights, educational issues, criminal injuries compensation or the reinstatement of a license), a paralegal can probably help you. If you are a landlord or a tenant, a paralegal can represent you before the Landlord and Tenant Board. If you have a legal claim of $35,000.00 or under, a paralegal can take your matter through small claims court, or defend you in the same. There are also a number of offences dealing with traffic tickets, suspension of your driver’s license, or offences of other provincial law, that are heard in Provincial Offences Court. Paralegals can represent you there as well. Paralegals can also defend you or resolve criminal charges that are summary in nature and do not include a jail term of more than six months, or five thousand dollars in fines.
If you are looking for a divorce, a separation agreement or to seek custody of your children, this is a family law matter. Paralegals at this time cannot help you. Similarly, if you are purchasing a real property, wanting to update a will or to pursue a litigation claim that is much higher than $35,000.00, you will need to seek a lawyer. In certain cases, a claim above $35,000.00 can be dealt with by a paralegal, using the rules of the Small Claims Court, but a case review would be required. The Law Society of Ontario runs a free legal referral service, where once you complete the form, a lawyer or paralegal’s name will be given to you, which will provide a half hour free consultation.
Elsewhere on this website, there is an article on what you could do to prepare for your consultation, regardless of what your legal issue is. The more prepared you are for your consultation, the better the advice you will receive. After your discussion with a legal professional, you may decide that you need legal representation. You may only need assistance with part of your issues, but not all of it. This is what we call a limited scope retainer. Our office offers this to many clients. You may also feel comfortable with proceeding on your own, but with the coaching and ongoing advice of somebody. In certain cases, we can help you with this. In any case, your consultation should provide you with clear options as to what your rights and obligations might be, and what possible methods of resolution might be available to you.
Professionally, Browne & Associates Legal Services Professional Corporation provides services in many advocacy areas. including Small Claims, Landlord/Tenant, Provincial Offences (including Highway Traffic Act matters), as well as other Tribunals (such as Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Workplace Safety and Insurance Board/Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, Social Benefits Tribunal, among many others). We do not accept all clients within our chosen areas of practice, as the fit has to work both ways. As we have practiced and grown in our profession, we do our evaluation of cases before us based on chances of success, complexity of the matter, private interests (of the client) and public interest, as well as numerous other factors.
When should you choose to seek legal assistance? Early. As soon as you identify a potential problem. This is very important because there are sometimes tight time frames within which you must file notice of action or a claim. You can get a free consultation. Most legal professionals will offer one. It is also available through the Law Society Referral Service.
A short video discussing what you should expect for your first consultation, click here.
Browne & Associates Legal Services Professional Corporation