Most of our clients have never had to retain a lawyer before, with the exception of maybe the purchase of their home. It is an intimidating prospect, and we want you to understand our process if you are considering retaining a family lawyer. Whether you are contacting us because you are thinking about separating, have already separated, or are considering a cohabitation agreement or marriage contract for a new relationship, we are here to help.
Give us a call. Our phone numbers are listed in the Our Team page. Our main number is on the Contact page. Pick up the phone and call us. We would be pleased to speak with you. Often our senior and capable assistants are a first point of contact, and they can help you with which lawyer might be the best fit for you, when we can schedule an appointment for a consultation, and other helpful information to have as you are exploring your options.
Come and meet with us. Dana, Jacqueline, Rui and Lorna are all very experienced family lawyers. We believe in listening. We don’t have a “script” that we follow for each and every client. Why? All of our clients are different and have different goals. Clients have told us that they value our unique approach to every single matter. At the consultation, we may discuss legal concepts, options for resolution, and possible road maps for moving forward. This will include an overview of process options like mediation, Collaborative, traditional negotiation, arbitration and court. Sometimes you will meet our law clerk, student or associates at the initial consultation: we want you to be comfortable with the “fit” and, since we value a team approach where appropriate, you should be comfortable with the team too! All of our lawyers charge for initial consultations. Some of our lawyers have special rates for the initial consultation, so don’t be shy to ask when you make contact initially.
You may meet with several lawyers before you are comfortable that the team at CAPY is the right fit for you. We understand. We are here when you are ready. When you wish to move forward, we will formalize our retainer. Regardless of which lawyer you work with, you will be asked to sign our Engagement Letter1 to formally retain us, and you will always be asked to provide a financial retainer.
1 The Engagement Letter is the written agreement confirming the terms of engagement between you and CAPY. It outlines the details related to the scope of services, fees, communications, and overall terms and conditions. The document needs to be signed by both parties in order for CAPY to represent you.
Once we begin working together, you will find our focus at CAPY is on communication: communication with you, communication with your spouse’s lawyer, communication with all professionals involved in your matter, and communication within our team. We want you to be involved in every step. We like to think of ourselves as highly skilled legal coaches or advisors. Ultimately the choices you make in this process with our guidance will be yours to live with, and we want to ensure that you are engaged at every step. That means that we use email, Skype, Facetime, the telephone and good old fashioned meetings to stay in touch. You are asked to review and approve most written communication from our firm on your file. You are asked to consider which resolution method may best meet your and your family’s needs, and you are encouraged to ask questions at every single stage. We also want to assure you that all communication between you and our team is strictly confidential.
As part of our communication strategy, we want you to understand where your hard-earned money is being spent at every step. Sometimes we will be able to provide you with an estimate of legal fees you may expect to expend at various stages of the process. In exceptional cases (for example, a simple divorce where a Separation Agreement has already been signed), we will be able to provide you with a flat fee quote. Other times we will keep track of our time and you will be billed according to the time expended on your matter. In every case you will receive a written account monthly, with a detailed explanation of all time expended, and the relevant rates. We will always tell you if your retainer is depleted and needs replenishing, and we will work with you during the month to give you a “head’s up” about the unbilled work on your matter and how you can work with us to keep your legal fees in check.
Whatever resolution method you pursue with our guidance, our goal is to work with you to resolve your family law matter as efficiently as possible. Although we value our clients very much, we know that you want to move on with your life, and we want to be able to facilitate this as quickly as possible. Our team is focussed on working with you to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. You will find that in a majority of our cases, we can work with the client to achieve a settlement well within a year. When your matter is resolved, we will keep an electronic copy of your file in the event you need to contact us in the future, and we will almost always prepare a very detailed reporting letter to you so that you have a resource in the future.