1. Think about what you need

Think about the type of lawyer or paralegal that you want to work with. For example, find out if they:

  • offer services in the legal area you need
  • have experience dealing with cases like yours
  • speak a language you understand or can help you find an interpreter

If you have a legal aid certificate, find out if the lawyer takes legal aid clients. Not all lawyers accept legal aid certificates.

Think about where the lawyer or paralegal is located. You may need to meet with them or give them important documents many times. For this reason, you may prefer a lawyer or paralegal who is close to your home or workplace.

Make a list of a few lawyers or paralegals to contact. You may need to call a few lawyers or paralegals before finding one that will take your case and you’re comfortable with.

Unbundled services

Some lawyers provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case. For example, you could pay a lawyer to help you prepare court documents, but not to represent you at the hearing.

Some lawyers have websites that say if they offer unbundled services. Others do not, but if you ask them, they may be willing to offer it to you.

You can find directories of lawyers that offer unbundled services on the The National Self-Represented Litigants Project website and Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project website.

Or, if you can’t afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, you may be able to find a lawyer who will talk to you about your case and the options you have. This is sometimes called a consultation.

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