Everyone keeps asking me who my lawyers are.Well I use 2 one in town and one from Abbotsford who comes to Prince Rupert a couple of time a year.He has been a great lawyer over the years and really knows his stuff.
It could very well be a pro bono case -or- the lawyer believes that the case is strong enough to do it by way of a contingency fee agreement. Either which way, one doesn’t have to be a millionaire to retain counsel.
If you have a cut and dry case then the cost is minimal.But once one person has won such a case then anyone one else who has been affected by the same circumstance has a very easy time to proceed with legal action and if the precedent has been set ,You do not need a lawyer you can do it yourself.Sometimes the little guy has to stand up for all the little people out there.
I found in small claims court … which has jurisdiction up to $20K if I recall …that there is little or no advantage to having a lawyer at the settlement conference that precedes a trial. The conference is informal and mediated by a provincial court judge.
I once attended a conference on behalf of an employer and the other side brought a lawyer whose main function appeared to be presenting a bullying demeanor before the judge arrived. Even leaving aside that the lawyer appeared to have been drinking, he had no impact at the conference.
The issue was about a supplier unilaterally imposing a 2% service charge … a common problem … anything over the statutory maximum (which is a low rate) has to be agreed in writing by the customer. The judge explained the law, the supplier agreed to adjust their invoice, we paid the revised invoice, presumably the supplier paid the lawyer … thus avoiding being sued by him … I imagine the lawyer restocked his liquor cabinet … and life moved on. I don’t think many lawyers are that haywire, but in that case it wouldn’t have mattered how good he was.
In a small claims case, if the issues are cut and dried I would get some legal advice but go to the settlement conference on my own. I would be more inclined to take a lawyer to a trial, even in small claims … many people feel uncomfortable in court and may not effectively state their case …
Best of luck with your claim … it’s good to see a little guy standing up for the little people.
You are correct in what you say about the settlement conference.Been there done that.Now because we cannot agree who is right it now goes to trial.You can by allmeans go to trial without a lawyer this is what small clams is set up for.But remember if you get in court with someone who figures there pretty slick they might slip something past you, our turn things around and if you don’t know what you are doing it could be all the difference between winning and losing,with your lawyer with you who knows every angle of the law nothing will slip past them.