The client-lawyer relationship is necessarily built on trust and confidence. Every case has something important at stake, even so-called ‘minor’ charges. A criminal lawyer is the last line of defence for your liberty, against the virtually unlimited resources of the crown and police.
It is essential that nothing be permitted to interfere with the working relationship between client and lawyer. A written retainer agreement creates a record of the plan and the fees that enable a full defence, and 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. Mr. Clark’s fees are more than competitive having regard to his advanced experience. Block fees and payment plans are almost always possible. In appropriate cases, legal aid retainers are considered.
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.
For a free consultation please call 416.531.7321.
Criminal lawyers know too well how unfair it can be for a wrongly accused person to pay hard earned money to defend against criminal prosecution. And criminal lawyers should perhaps do more to remind the public that 13% on your legal fees goes straight back to the government as HST. When the crown seeks to put you in jail, it also requires your lawyer to send back to the government 13 cents on every dollar you pay to your lawyer to defend you against the crown/government. It is respectfully suggested that this is outrageous and should be put to politicians as such – by everyone, not just those recently or currently affected! Failures of criminal justice affect us all.