The client-lawyer relationship is necessarily built on trust and confidence. Once retained by the client, Mr. Clark prefers to be talking to his clients about their defence rather than legal fees. That said, it is essential that nothing, including fees, be permitted to interfere with the working relationship between client and lawyer. The fees and other aspects of the client-lawyer relationship are thus set out in a written retainer agreement. A retainer agreement addresses in advance those issues that could otherwise distract or interfere with the relationship upon which winning depends.
For the client’s benefit, a written retainer sets out the fees that the client should reasonably expect to pay for a complete defence. Those amounts often turn out to be less than first anticipated, because things can always happen to curtail a prosecution. It is preferable for the client in advance to have their eyes wide open about the possible extent of the fees than to be surprised late in the case about some sudden costs they did not plan for.
Mr. Clark’s fees are competitive having regard to his advanced experience and 21 years of expertise.
- The retainer agreement also provides a written record of what the lawyer will do on the client’s behalf. This provides reference point for the big picture and assists the client in asking focussed questions of the lawyer by way of on-going advice and updates. Consider this list of the tasks and services that defence counsel will usually have to provide, at a minimum, taken from a standard Retainer used by Mr. Clark’s criminal law office:
- Attend remand/administrative court appearances;
- Obtain and review police/crown disclosure materials;
- Request, obtain and review further/other disclosure materials arising from initial disclosure review;
- Analysis and advice with respect to known disclosure, witnesses, evidence, etc., and all aspects of the defence affecting nature of plea, pre-trial and trial motions/applications, trial and/or sentencing issues;
- Conduct pre-trial discussions with Crown prosecutor as per court protocols/practice directions for date setting, and related preparation;
- Seek and secure such bail variations on consent as reasonably warranted;
- Take final instructions with respect to disclosure/evidence, pre-trial and trial motions/applications, plea to be tendered;
- Legal research with respect to specific issues, preparation of submissions;
- Conduct witness interviews, prepare examinations of witnesses;
- Conduct Judicial Pre-trial conferences [“JPT”] as per court protocols/practice direction for date setting, and related preparation;
- Draft, serve and file pre-trial and trial motions/applications;
- Secure hearing date for pre-trial motion/application(s), if any, in coordination with Crown and Court schedules;
- Secure hearing date(s) for trial in coordination with Crown and Court schedules;
- Prepare client and other defence witnesses, if any, for testimony;
- Attendance at Court for conduct of trial;
- Attendance at Court for sentencing proceedings, if any.
A criminal charge can be life altering, like a catastrophic accident or sudden serious illness. But much can be done to control the outcome. Mr. Clark understands the predicament that criminal justice thrusts accused persons and their families into; and the flexibility required to ensure a full defence within your means. In most cases the retainer can be based on a payment schedule by which fees are deposited over time as the case makes its way through the courts.
The stress of a criminal prosecution impacts family, career and social life. Payment plans are part of a structured response to the stress allowing both client and counsel to stay focussed on the greatest stress-reliever of all: winning the case.
Mr. Clark’s office is sensitive to clients’ particular financial situations and prepared to take extenuating circumstances into account where the client’s financial means and access to justice are real issues.
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