Unjustly Dismissed? 5 tips for Selecting an Employment Lawyer | Co Authors: Bram Lecker & Simon Pelsmakher, Student-at-Law.
Unjustly Dismissed? Tips for Selecting an Employment Lawyer.
Most people go through life without needing the services of a lawyer. When it comes to resolving workplace related disputes sadly, many employees enter into this purchase unwillingly and from a position of disadvantage. Very few understand the law and our justice system. In fact, if your employer unjustly dismissed you, you will be under a lot of stress when seeking out such services. And you may not fully appreciate the inherent value of the service you receive for the legal fees.
Hiring a lawyer can be both time and cost intensive. That is precisely why you need to slow down and take your time when selecting an employment lawyer to represent you.
Selecting an Employment Lawyer.
It goes without saying that if you have been unjustly dismissed, then first seek out an employment lawyer. You can use the first appointment to understand your rights and whether you have a case. You should also take the opportunity to ask about all avenues available to you for resolution. Do some research and prepare a list of questions. Do not be shy to ask pointed questions about your situation.
Here are 5 things to consider when selecting an employment lawyer.
1. Selecting an Employment Lawyer for Experience.
The practice of law is as much an art as it is a science. Competency and experience in this field are acquired over time. If you have been unjustly dismissed, ask your lawyer about their years of experience with employment law. Subsequently ascertain whether they have handled similar cases in the past. Have they represented employees against small and medium sized businesses, Fortune 500 companies, crown corporations and multi-nationals? It stands to reason that if they have handled a wide array cases, they will be seasoned hands at developing a successful strategy for you.
You may also ask about the outcome you could expect for your circumstances. An experienced employment lawyer should know the answer, not as a rough guess but as a professional opinion based on precedents. These are outcomes from other similar cases heard by the courts. In fact, if this law firm has played a direct role in establishing precedent setting cases, you can expect very aggressive representation from them. They know how to do this and will confidently draw upon this knowledge and experience during settlement negotiations.
When selecting an employment lawyer, ensure their experiences are the right match for your circumstances.
2. Efficiencies with Successful Litigation.
The litigation process is time consuming. And time is money for legal services. That is why experience counts in a lawyer. One of the criteria for selecting an employment lawyer should be their ability to manage your case as efficiently as possible to your benefit.
Some employers use the fact that they have deep pockets to quell threats of legal action from you. In fact, the vast majority of cases are settled very efficiently by hiring a skilled employment lawyer to negotiate with your employer without going to trial. Consequently, a very fair approach some lawyers take is to charge a percentage of the settlement. Essentially, they take a stake in this outcome with you.
3. Legal Fees & Your Chances of Success.
Inquiring about the legal fees must become a part of the criteria for selecting your employment lawyer. If your matter cannot be managed though a direct negotiation, you should understand all other options available to you.
Ask your lawyer about their experience with reaching resolutions via summary judgements, arbitration or small claims court. You must clearly understand how far this lawyer can advocate for you, along with the related costs. Do not leave this discussion open ended.
Trials and appeals are highly expensive legal services. If your situation has escalated to this, then you need to have full confidence in your lawyer’s ability to deliver. Your criteria for selecting an employment lawyer must rest squarely on their experience. You should ask whether they have gone to trial with similar cases at provincial and federal courts, how often and what the outcomes were.
An experienced lawyer will have sufficient insight about your chances for success. And most will also proactively participate in this discussion with you to ensure you have all the information to weigh the costs against the potential outcome.
4. Unjustly Dismissed? Hiring Generalists vs. Specialists:
The legal arena is vast and each area comes with its own laws and customs. They require extensive study and experience to master. If you approach a lawyer that provides services in many areas you should pose very specific questions pertinent to your situation. If you were unjustly dismissed, then make sure they understand employment law. Your case will quickly get expensive if you engage a lawyer who needs to learn the law on the fly.
As an example, Lecker & Associates exclusively practice Employment & Disability Benefits Law. We specifically focus on advocacy for employees. The law around denied disability claims requires very deep specialization. We offer these services as employment lawyers because disability benefits are an inherent part of many compensation packages as “peace of mind” contracts. You may not need them, but denying them is a gross violation of your rights.
In such cases, a personal injury lawyer may not be able to help you to the extent that we can. This case requires litigation under employment law. You require a lawyer conversant with both employment law and medical terminology. This is because the opposing counsel for insurance companies will present medical facts to justify the claim denial. Your lawyer must be up to the task to understand their arguments and defend your position on all grounds.
Take your time when selecting an employment lawyer. You may not understand the law but you are familiar with your circumstances better than anyone else. Posing insightful question about their strategy and their relevant experience to execute it will help you determine if they can help you.
5. Communication Style: Does it Work For You?
While lawyers undergo years of study and specialization, you should not feel intimidated by this. A lawyer who genuinely cares about helping you out of a difficult situation with your employer will welcome the opportunity to educate you about your rights and the judicial system. They must present themselves as consummate professionals, open to discussions about their experience and fees. And they must do so without getting their back up.
Anyone who avoids addressing your questions may be hiding their inexperience. And if they take offense to your line of questioning, then they may not have the right attitude for your business.
In this matter, you remain the paying client.
Lecker & Associates provide employment law services exclusively to employees of Ontario. We have been doing this for over 35 years. Our team of experienced employment lawyers are deeply specialized in this field. We have seen almost every type of scenario played out in the courtrooms. Our lawyers have litigated precedent setting employment cases and clarified laws where they previously remained unclear. Our cases often receive national media coverage. Yet, you will find us to be approachable and genuinely interested in educating employees about their rights.
If you have been unjustly dismissed, contact us. We can likely assist you better than anyone else.
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