Top 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring an Accident Or Injury Lawyer (Attorney) In Ontario, Canada

If you are considering proceeding with a lawsuit in relation to an accident or injury (whether it is a car accident, a slip and fall or trip and fall), you will want to choose a lawyer and law firm that is competent to effectively handle the case. When speaking to a lawyer that you are considering hiring you may want to ask the following questions:

(1) Will you provide me with a list of all of the charges that I will have to pay,

(2) Is the consultation free

(3) When do I have to pay (ie: can I pay out of the final award or settlement?)

(4) What experience and knowledge do you have in this area of the law?

(5) Does your law firm have the financial and other resources to fund the litigation and to go to trial if necessary?

(6) Do you focus your practice on litigation and lawsuits or do you practice in other areas too? (some lawyers carry on a general practice where they try to practice in a number of areas – this is especially true in smaller centres like Ajax, Whtby, Oshawa, Milton, etc.).

(7) Ask the lawyer to explain the legal tests involved in the case and what the game plan would be for meeting them?

(8) Ask whether the firm is well known and whether insurance companies will know the firm

(9) Ask the lawyer to send you one or more decisions in cases that he/she has argued

(10) Ask the lawyer what the challenges are in your case

counseling became part of the bankruptcy process

Credit counseling became part of the bankruptcy process in the United States with the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. As a result of this legislation, your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case will be dismissed if you cannot prove that you completed a credit counseling session, with an approved credit counselor, within the preceding 180 days.

In other words, in the United States, your bankruptcy will not start until you can prove that you have completed credit counseling.

This is in direct contrast to the personal bankruptcy system in Canada, where credit counselling (yes, in Canada we spell it with two l’s) is an integral part of the bankruptcy process, but it is completed during the bankruptcy, not before you file.

It appears that the American bankruptcy reform in 2005 was championed largely by large credit card companies and other lenders, and they argued in favor of the credit counseling requirement primarily, it would appear, as a way to talk people out of filing bankruptcy. The mandatory pre-bankruptcy credit counseling session, among other things, discusses alternatives to bankruptcy. Since credit counselors do not also serve as bankruptcy attorneys, it is logical to assume that they will, at the very least, make sure all debtors are fully aware of their non-bankruptcy options.

In Canada, the process is somewhat different. First, all bankruptcies are handled by private individuals, generally with an accounting background, who are licensed by the federal government. In Canada, practicing lawyers are not permitted to act as trustees in bankruptcy. The trustee handles all aspects of the file, including collecting assets from the debtor, and distributing the proceeds to creditors.

In Canada, prior to filing a consumer proposal (similar to a Chapter 13 filing in the United States) or a personal bankruptcy (similar to Chapter 7), the debtor is required to meet with a licensed trustee in bankruptcy, and the trustee is required to explain to the debtor all of their options, including such non-legislative options as debt consolidation and debt management plans through a credit counselor. The debtor then decides whether or not they will file bankruptcy.

During the bankruptcy (or proposal) the debtor is required to attend two credit counselling sessions.

The first credit counselling session discusses money management, spending and shopping habits, warning signs of financial difficulties, and obtaining and using credit.

The second stage credit counseling session is designed to determine the causes of the insolvency, and to provide the debtor with the skills necessary to avoid future financial problems. The credit counselor will follow up on the principles discussed in the first session, and then help identify non-budgetary causes of financial problems (such as marriage break up, job loss, family problems, excessive gambling, compulsive behavior, and substance abuse).

In contrast to the American system where pre-bankruptcy credit counseling appears designed to talk people out of going bankrupt, the Canadian bankruptcy credit counselling system is designed to help debtors avoid financial problems in the future.

Obviously as a Canadian bankruptcy trustee I am somewhat biased, but given my experience with the over 3,000 personal bankruptcies and consumer proposals that I have personally handled, I can say with confidence that in most cases the debtors viewed the credit counselling sessions as a positive experience. Many people over the years have told me that they learned many money management skills, and the vast majority of people I have helped over the years don’t go bankrupt again, so I believe the Canadian credit counselling system works.

The American system has only been in place for a short period of time, so perhaps in a few years a comparison will be done of both credit counseling systems to determine which approach is most beneficial to people with money problems.

Gaining Entry Into Canada Post Being Refused the Privilege

Not being able to gain entry into Canada, courtesy being denied the privilege, is certainly not something to really feel happy about, or to go to town with. It may be really rather discomforting, and the entire arrangement one may earlier have nursed about the Maple Country – whether he was visiting a member of the family, going on a wonderful holiday, or participating in a crucial meeting – will be efficiently annulled even as he will have to turn around only to return back dejected.

However, only because a person has been refused admission to the country doesn’t actually mean that he has no choices whatsoever left, or is short on luck. Still, at first, it’s a good idea to find out why his submission for entrance into Canada failed to receive favorable response from the concerned authorities.

Factors behind entrance refusal to Canada

There could be a plethora of compelling reasons behind the entrance refusal. Undoubtedly, it’s the responsibility of the nation’s concerned agency to keep the Maple Country and its people fully safe and secure.

Those found violating the immigration law of the land, those found to have offered wrong facts about themselves; those having a prohibited family member; those with not-too-good, or in other words, criminal backgrounds; those having health issues, which may lead to extreme demand on the nation’s social or health facilities; and those who are unstable, money-wise, may be denied admission to the country.

Still, at certain times, Ottawa could go overboard, and be a little over enthusiastic in the matters of keeping some individuals out of the territorial limits of the nation, even while those people, who may present entirely no danger whatsoever, may get unnecessarily stuck and find themselves at the receiving end.

What to do when one is refused entrance to Canada

In a situation wherein a person is refused admission to Canada –thanks to a criminal background and a criminal judgment, which may have been given more than 5 years back-the involved person could suitably present a submission for criminal rehabilitation at his local Canadian embassy.

He could also file a petition for a temporary resident permit even as the same will enable him to gain entry into Canada, notwithstanding the fact that he may have been prohibited otherwise. Although the travelers to the Maple Country–from the nations which necessitate permits to arrive in Canada also duly apply for the same–in case one happens to be a guest from a visa-free nation, he could require the same in case he is prohibited.

It must be observed that both the petitions being rather difficult time and again are not entertained only to be reused. They could be one’s sole chance at being permitted to arrive in Canada, even while it’s really a nice proposal to get in touch with a registered immigration attorney in advance to successfully navigate through such choppy waters (situations).

Do You Have Enough Business? How PR for Lawyers Can Help!

“Do you have enough business?”

We’ve spoken to many attorneys throughout the country and Canada and the answer we get to this question over and over is a resounding, “No!”

Well, that isn’t surprising. According to the American Bar Association there is one attorney for every 300 people in the United States and 1 for every 450 people in Canada.

Yikes! So, how does an attorney stand out in this very large and ever-expanding crowd? You need to become the expert in your community in the niche that your serve.

How you become this is through a combination of efforts- many which are quite affordable (sometimes free) but often overlooked. Once such great tool is the development and implementation of a public relations strategy.

Inside of the public relations strategy you will have many tasks but the goal is to demonstrate yourself as an expert in your field to increase your presence in your industry and attract new business. The question is…how do you accomplish this? Simply put you must inform the public (your client base) and referral sources of the services you provide and how you are different from the thousands of other attorneys in your community. And there’s no better way to do that than being quoted and identified as an expert in the media. Being interviewed on television, in your local newspaper or other publication can vastly increase your credibility.

So, how do you gain this type of exposure?

One of the best ways is to create relationships with reporters and become their ‘go-to’ source for stories or news broadcast reports. You have to reach out to reporters and prove to them that you have expertise but if you make the right connection it can result in huge rewards. But, building this type of relationship takes work. A great way to start building this relationship is to help them do their job! They are constantly looking for ideas for stories. Be sure to keep an eye out for trends or news where you can showcase your expertise that would also be interesting to the public. Pitch the story idea to them in a complete package so they can easily pick it up and make it news.

Here’s three other ways to increase your chances of getting picked up by the press:

-Spend just as much time on your “pitch letter” as you do on your press release! In most cases, it’s the pitch letter that opens the door for free publicity. The press release is often a secondary tool in this process.

-Recognize the media’s interest is to cover timely stories- not just to provide free advertising to any small business owner that wants it Before you pitch, think “is this something I would care to read if I saw it in the paper about another local business in town?” If the answer is no, go back to the drawing table.

-Tie into holidays and national observances when possible. These “hooks” dramatically increase your chances of getting covered as they automatically provide you with a timely platform when pitching the press.

Follow these simple tips above to increase your media attention, befriend your local journalists and become the legal expert in your community without spending thousands of dollars on an expensive legal PR firm.

Tips for Traveling Abroad With a DUI Conviction

This upcoming summer provides many opportunities for weekend getaways and extensive travel. In order to make your experience go as smoothly as possible make sure you have all the necessary documents and information when planning a trip abroad. One important thing to remember is that holding a criminal record may bar you from visiting some nations. A DUI is a criminal charge and certain countries will not let you enter their borders if you have a DUI on your record. This simple mistake can render you criminally inadmissible to foreign nations.

In order to not let travel opportunities pass you by, it is important to have all the information before making plans. According the United States Department of State, Canada is one of the nations that does not allow U.S. citizens with a DUI conviction across their boarders without first obtaining a special waiver. Canadian law is more severe than American law for first time offenders, as according to their laws a first time offender must pay $1000 fee and are subject to a 12 month driving suspension. A DUI is considered a felony in Canada whereas in the United States a first time offense is a misdemeanor.

The Department of Canadian Citizenship and Immigration also advises travelers that those who were convicted of a criminal offense may not be able to receive a waiver to enter their country for travel purposes. Their laws require at least five years to have passed before you can submit an application for pardon. Ten years to have passed before a pardon can be issued without an application but the individual must have been convicted of only one offense. The process of applying for a pardon is extensive and requires you to work with a Canadian immigration representative as well pay a $200-$1000 application fee depending on the severity of the crime.

If you have been convicted of criminal activity that is classified as a misdemeanor, it may be considered a felony in Canada. While not all nations have such restrictive rules regarding entrance into their borders, if you have been convicted of a DUI or have been charged with any other crime that is a misdemeanor traveling abroad may be more difficult for you. Getting a pardon is an extensive and time consuming process, your travel plans may be put on hold with the time it takes to get a pardon. Do not let a DUI drastically interrupt your life!