I’ve been getting a lot of inquiries lately from potential new clients with very low income, such as ODSP benefits.
My hourly rate is $225 per hour, despite my 24 years’ experience exclusively in family law. This is how much many brand new lawyers charge, and at my experience level, I could seek $350 to $400 per hour.
I don’t require a higher fee though, since my office expenses are very low. I also don’t feel it’s fair to charge more, as the middle income clients I represent simply wouldn’t be able to afford legal services. I often take a lower than typical retainer along with a monthly payment plan, which helps make legal representation more affordable.
For very low income clients, there are a couple of free legal services in London Ontario. They are:
- Call the Lawyer Referral Service run by The Law Society of Upper Canada. I am one of the lawyers registered with them. It provides you with the name of a lawyer who will give you a free consultation lasting up to 30 minutes. I am registered on The Lawyer Referral Service, but you cannot choose which lawyer you want, it assigns on to you. To use their service, click here then click Request A Referral and follow the prompts.
- Call Community Legal Services at the Faculty of Law Western University at 519 661-3352. This is an extremely well supervised student run clinic, and they accept family law cases from time to time. You don’t have to be eligible for Legal Aid or meet the financial requirements that Duty Counsel sets: You can have more income than that as their financial threshold is much higher. One family law client I sent there was accepted by CLS and I confirm that they provided excellent representation at no cost to the client.
- Call Legal Aid Ontario at 519 433-8179 to see if you qualify financially for a Legal Aid certificate. You also need to ensure that they cover your legal issue as they mostly cover urgent matters only. If you find that you do qualify financially for coverage, and that they cover your issue, ask for their list of lawyers who accept Legal Aid certificates and begin calling them to see if anyone is available to take your case. You will need to apply for Legal Aid coverage and ensure you give them everything they request to process your application.
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