Your lawyer acts as your trusted representative in legal matters. As a member of the Law Society of Manitoba, a lawyer is bound by a standard professional conduct that seeks to enforce reliability and integrity in the profession.
Finding a Lawyer
People find lawyers in different ways. You may find the following tips helpful:
Before you look for a lawyer, write a description of the work you want done. Give as much detail as possible. Check with relatives, friends and neighbours for recommendations. Also consult local community agencies, such as the Law Phone-In and Lawyer Referral Program, the Age & Opportunity Centre and the Manitoba Society of Seniors. Remember: some lawyers are more experienced in some fields of law than other. These agencies can refer you to a lawyer familiar with the area of law concerning you. They can also give you a list of lawyers who practice in the field where you are seeking professional assistance. You can also check the Lawyers listing in the Yellow Pages. Some of the lawyers indicate their areas of expertise and practice. Call a few lawyers listed to discuss your problem. (However, most lawyers prefer to discuss details in person rather than over the phone.)
Your Lawyer’s Fees
During your first appointment, you should discuss:
- Availability of legal aid;
- How and what you will be charged;
- When you will be billed;
- What disbursements (out-of-pocket expenses) you may be charged in addition to the fees.
It’s also a good idea to ask your lawyer to put the answers to these questions in writing.
Keeping Your Legal Costs Down
You are paying for your lawyer’s time. Therefore, the less of his/her time you use, the less it will cost. Here are some points on keeping costs down:
- Before you go to see your lawyer, get all your papers and documents together and put them in order.
- When you talk to your lawyer:
- Stick to the facts;
- Ask questions when you don’t understand;
- Ask what you can do to reduce your costs.
- After you have talked to your lawyer:
- Don’t make unnecessary phone calls;
- Consider writing to the lawyer instead of calling;
- Your lawyer’s secretary may be able to help you in routine matters.
Complaints and Discipline
The Law Society of Manitoba is the governing body for Manitoba lawyers. It licenses lawyers and has the power to look into and deal with complaints about lawyers. The Society has a procedure for dealing with complaints of unprofessional or unethical conduct. You can get more information by calling the Society at 942-5571.
Information in this document provided by “A Legal Information Guide for Seniors”, published by the Public Trustee of Manitoba.”
Please Seek Expert Advice: The WSO strongly recommends that you seek professional advice to ensure your financial goals are considered, your tax situation reviewed, and that your legacy gift is tailored to your circumstances. The WSO recommends that you consult your lawyer or estate planner regarding the specific wording of any gift in a will.
For further information, please call Beth Proven at (204) 949-3989 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.