First Meeting with a Lawyer

Criminal Law

Assuming you have not been held for bail (since you are reading this), you can expect your first meeting with us to be quite short. You should bring all the paperwork you were provided by either the police and or the Court. Some examples of these documents include Promise to Appear, Undertaking to an officer, Summons, Bail papers, etc.

We generally have three questions for new clients (1) What are your charges?; (2) What paperwork were you given?; and (3) When is your next Court date? We are also happy to answer any questions you may have either about your specific charges or about the criminal process generally during our first meeting.

The other part of the first meeting with a lawyer is retaining them (hiring a lawyer). Virtually all lawyers will require a cash retainer up front. The amount varies greatly. A cash retainer is money you give to your lawyer on deposit for future work. The money is deposited into a trust account. It remains your money until your lawyer sends you a bill for work done. When that bill is sent then the money can be transferred to the lawyer’s general (i.e. personal) account. If at any point you decide to fire your lawyer what is left in the trust account minus work done to that date must and will be returned to you.

Many lawyers, including lawyers at Blais & Rorabeck, LLP, also accept legal aid instead of a cash retainer. The criteria for qualifying for legal aid are complex. If you think you might qualify you should contact legal aid (1-800-668-8258). If you do qualify and a certificate is issued, your lawyer’s bills will be paid by legal aid.

Family Law

The initial meeting with me for a family law matter can often be time consuming. You will need to bring a large amount of paperwork with you for the first meeting. There are innumerable possible scenarios when it comes to family law. Below, I try to set out the most common scenarios and the paperwork you should bring with you for the first meeting in each of those scenarios. Please keep in mind that any particular family law case could involve more than one (or all) of the following situations. In that case, bring the paperwork required for each of the cases. If you are unsure about whether you should bring a particular document with you, bring it. The more paperwork you have with you, the better.

Applications, Motions, Form 8, or Form 14

If you have been served with documents which are initiating a court process (Application, Form 8 ( | ), or motion, Form 14 ( | ), or motion to change, Form 15 ( | ), then you will need to bring it and any accompanying documents to the first meeting.

Claims for Support

If the matter involves a claim for support (either spousal or child), you will need to bring your last pay stub and your last three years of income tax returns. If you do not have the returns for the first meeting you will need them shortly thereafter.

If there is a claim for spousal support (either by you or the other party), you will need to bring the income information of any and all other income earners in your home.

In divorce cases, we require a marriage certificate and a Final Order for a Motion to Change (especially if the matter is outside of Kingston).

Equalization claim

If there is a claim for equalization, you should bring as much information about all of the assets which you and the other party owned at the time you were married and when you separated. For example, bring deeds and appraisals for any real estate, any appraisals for any jewellery or other valuable items or collections owned by either person and any insurance policies which are in place at separation.

The other part of the first meeting with a lawyer is retaining them (hiring a lawyer). Virtually all lawyers will require a cash retainer up front. The amount varies greatly. A cash retainer is money you give to your lawyer on deposit for future work. The money is deposited into a trust account. It remains your money until your lawyer sends you a bill for work done. When that bill is sent then the money can be transferred to the lawyer’s general (i.e. personal) account. If at any point you decide to fire your lawyer what is left in the trust account minus work done to that date must and will be returned to you.