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Right Beside You

There are so many resources out there on the internet. Legislation from all over the world. Case law too. Draft contracts and agreements and wills. Precedents of every kind. And increasingly we’re all accustomed to using the internet as our first source of information: most often, by Googling on our phones. We can and we do get instant information, 24/7.

So: why do you need to pay a lawyer to give you legal advice?

And why should a lawyer charge you for legal advice if the information’s readily available out there anyhow? Especially if the lawyer already “knows” it, or (you think) should know it. After all, you found it online, and you think it’s pretty clear!

There are lots of good reasons. 

First and foremost, there’s so much information “out there” that it’s increasingly hard to make sense of any of it. What’s the applicable law here, in Ontario? Is it provincial law or federal law? Was that case you found actually decided in Ontario and was it binding? Most important, are there facts in your situation which are legally relevant and different from the facts that determined the case you found? Or different from the intention of the clauses in the precedent you found? 

To make matters even more complex, many people dealing with a difficult legal conflict can (understandably) get enmeshed in their own emotions. 

It just seems wrong that the spouse who decides to end the marriage, maybe by having an affair, is most likely still fully entitled to division of property, and even spousal support. And that the wandering spouse’s behaviour probably won’t affect custody or access arrangements for the children. 

It doesn’t feel fair that the child who didn’t help care for the dying parent is still entitled to an equal share of the parent’s estate, if that’s what the will says. Or, if you’re named as beneficiary of a life insurance policy, that maybe the common-law spouse can still make a claim against that asset outside the estate for dependent’s relief. 

It’s infuriating to a hard-working and loyal employee that the employer who decides to terminate his employment “without cause” only owes him pay for the reasonable notice period. Which might be further limited by the contract of employment to just the Employment Standard Act minimum termination pay.

Although at Anderson Adams we’re always sympathetic to your emotional context, we can also step back a bit and help you sort out the legally relevant facts and the applicable law. We can check to see what legislation applies, what new cases have been decided and whether those new cases are “distinguishable” from your situation on their facts. We may very well identify facts and laws and cases that you didn’t realize were applicable to your situation and which give you a strong cause of action or a strong defence. We can organize the facts and the law to construct a legal argument, much like stepping-stones across a stream: a pathway to dry land. Safe on the other side. 

That’s legal advice. That’s constructing a legal opinion, based upon legal research.

If your case looks strong, we can say so. If we don’t think you have a strong case, we can also say so. We can let you know what evidence it might be necessary to obtain. Our opinion will be based upon the facts we have and our initial research and of course is always subject to the emergence of new facts and ultimately to the determination a judge may make in a court of law. 

But with a preliminary opinion, you can make a decision whether you want to move ahead in initiating or in defending a legal action, or in attempting to settle using alternate dispute resolution approaches, based upon your own cost/benefit analysis.

That’s the real value of a legal opinion based upon legal research. When one of our experienced clerks takes down information over the phone prior to a first consultation appointment, the Anderson Adams lawyer gets a “heads up” about the key issues in the legal dispute. In fairly simple matters, and based upon prior research and experience, we may be able to give a qualified opinion right at the first meeting. In matters that are more unusual or complex, you may wish to retain us on a limited scope retainer to delve deeper into the legal research before you make a decision.

Legal research and a legal opinion: that’s legal advice (not just information) and that’s the best place to start. Getting good legal advice up front saves you money. 

When you’re trying to find out the answer yourself on the internet, you can feel absolutely deluged with legal information. It’s like a waterfall. It can knock you off balance with its force. When what you really need are some stepping-stones across the stream.

Thank you for your interest in our Anderson Adams blogs. Each of our blogs is the property of Anderson Adams. Please feel free to display the content, download or print pages as you may wish, provided always: that you credit our ownership of the blog; that you do not alter the content in any manner without our prior written consent; and that you use the content only for educational, non-commercial or personal purposes. We cannot and do not consent to redistribution, broadcast or copying of our blogs in any manner by any media without our prior written consent.

Anderson Adams blogs are offered only for the purposes of general information. The law changes over time within our own legal jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada and the content of our blogs may have no applicability to different legal jurisdictions. Anderson Adams cannot and does not warrant or guarantee content of any of our blogs for any particular purpose. Our Anderson Adams blogs do not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any subject matter whatsoever and they do not create a solicitor and client relationship.

Anderson Adams is always pleased to note the high readership of the blogs on our website and we hope that you have found this blog interesting. If you have a particular legal problem, then you deserve legal advice and a legal opinion specifically related to your particular circumstances. Please make an appointment with a legal professional in your jurisdiction. If Anderson Adams can help you, we invite you to contact our firm by telephone, 705 436-1701, and book an appointment. One of our clerks will take down a detailed note over the phone so that we can be ready to address your concerns when we meet with you.

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