1. Things to know about us
The Family Law Coach isn’t a law firm and doesn’t provide any legal services. But there are experienced family law lawyers, licensed to practice in Ontario, who are affiliated with us and who have agreed to provide the Services and Solutions shown on The Family Law Coach website at the prices set out there.
When you request a Service or Solution (from here on we’ll just use the term “Service” to include both), you’ll be connected to one of these lawyers who will then become “your Coach lawyer”.
It’s the mission of The Family Law Coach to connect people acting for themselves in family law matter with information and assistance to help them become more effective in their written and spoken presentation, and more confident about their outcome in court.
2. How The Family Law Coach Service Works
You’ll go through the process of giving us your Consent to act, your intake information, and your initial payment, online. That will be sent to us and given to a Coach lawyer to carry out your request.
Your initial payment for the Legal Advice and Coaching Solution covers the first hour or two, of your Coach lawyer’s time, depending on what you’ve paid for. Your Coach lawyer will go through your intake information and any material you send and get in touch with you.
It’s then up to you if you want more time to be spent on your matter. (Heads Up: Most people decide to use more than the initial amount of time, but how much is up to them.)
All of the service is provided online, through email, and by telephone. No need to attend at your Coach lawyer’s office at times convenient for the lawyer. No need to either lose time from work or get child-care just to see your Coach lawyer. No unnecessary travel. No big up-front retainer.
3. What your Coach lawyer will expect from you
You’ll be accurate and fulsome, won’t leave out important facts or mislead your Coach lawyer, and will be open and honest.
You’ll cooperate with your Coach lawyer by providing the information they request.
Your Coach lawyer is depending upon you being truthful and accurate because the advice and assistance she or he gives to you could be different if there was something they didn’t know about.
As well, you’ll be responsible for:
- all communications between you and the other side,
- any negotiations, and
- representing yourself at any court appearance.
You remain in charge of your case.
4. What you can expect from your Coach lawyer
You’re not paying your Couch lawyer to provide traditional, full-service. You’re paying for focused assistance to be provided by way of what lawyers call an unbundled, or limited scope retainer. That is, to do part but not all of what a full-service lawyer does.
We start with the proposition that you’ll likely do better in court if you use an experienced family law lawyer offering a traditional, full service, experience. People in family court with lawyers have been shown to be much more successful than those handling their matter on their own. (A recent 4-year study showed that people in Superior Court in Ontario acting for themselves lose 5 out of every 6 cases when there’s a lawyer on the other side.) But not everyone can, or wants, to afford to hire a full-service, traditional, lawyer.
That’s where The Family Law Coach and your Coach lawyer come in. For us and our affiliated Coach lawyers, the object is to get to you the assistance you need in an affordable, flexible, and convenient way. That means there are things that a traditional, full-service lawyer, charging full rates, would do that your Coach lawyer won’t, unless you ask them to.
Your Coach lawyer will spend the time you buy doing what you want them to do.
The Rules of Professional Conduct sets out what a “competent lawyer” means. Rule 3.1-1 has 11 sub-sections, one of which has 8 sub-sub-sections. It’s a long and thorough list and requires a lot of time to do everything. It’s something every traditional, full-service, lawyer is to do for full fee clients. And something full fee clients have to pay their lawyer to do even if they don’t feel it needs to be done in their case. This takes time and builds expense. Time is money. Doing everything on the list builds up cost for the self-rep.
But in an unbundled or limited scope retainer, the client can restrict what they want their lawyer to do. All of the Services your Coach lawyer offers are considered to be unbundled or limited scope retainers.
To keep costs down for self-reps, your Coach lawyer won’t necessarily do all of those things unless you and your Coach lawyer agree otherwise. In particular he or she won’t necessarily do all of the things set out in Rule 3.1-1 (b) and (c).
Depending upon the situation, your Coach lawyer may feel that some or many of the things listed above need to be done. But if you want a lawyer to do all of them, hire a traditional, full-service, full-fee, lawyer.
You can feel comfortable, however, knowing that you’re not releasing your Coach lawyer from the obligations set out in the other 8 factors listed in Rule 3.1-1.
As well, your Coach lawyer will let you know if the Service you’re requesting, at the agreed upon price, isn’t right for you, and you’ll discuss if there are other Services that might be more appropriate. You will accept that decision.
And lastly, because you remain in charge of your own case, you’ll be responsible for making the decisions and choices in your case.
5. Your Release and Our No Hassel Guarantee of Satisfaction
You’re agreeing, by proceeding to use a Service provided by your Coach lawyer, to release that lawyer and The Family Law Coach, from any claim of negligence or liability if there is any problem arising from something you didn’t tell your Coach lawyer or provide that was requested or relevant to your matter.
In exchange, The Family Law Coach and your Coach lawyer give you a no hassle guaranteed of some of your money back if you’re not satisfied for any reason. We’d appreciate you telling us why you weren’t satisfied so we can make improvements for the future, but you’re not obliged to. Check out The Family Law Coach No Hassel Guarantee, which each of our affiliated Coach lawyers accept.
7. If things aren’t working out
Relationships are important. For the Services your Coach lawyer will be providing to work, you and your Coach lawyer need to have trust and confidence in each other and there needs to be mutual respect. You can stop working with your Coach lawyer at any time if you lose don’t feel the relationship is working for you.
Equally, it’s the right of your Coach lawyer to end the relationship for any reason they feel is appropriate. This might be because the two of you aren’t getting along, your Coach lawyer feels you’re asking them to do something they don’t feel is appropriate or that might not be ethical or legal, or any other reason. Or it might simply be that your Coach lawyer feels there isn’t enough time or information for them to be helpful.
At all times, you can use the No Hassel Guarantee if you feel it’s appropriate.
8. We don’t make promises
You accept that by providing you with the Service you’re requesting, neither The Family Law Coach nor your Coach lawyer is promising or predicting any particular outcome. Your Coach lawyer is relying entirely on your disclosure of facts. You recognize that the way you handle your matter, and the decisions you make, are entirely your responsibility and will have a strong influence on the outcome of your matter.
9. Payment arrangements
One of the ways that our Coach lawyers can keep the cost down is to have prompt payment of fees. Generally, we start with the payment in advance for the first 1 or 2 hours and then tell you as the matter goes along that additional payment is needed. We operate on the assumption that you intend to pay for the work and will let you know from time to time when more money is needed.
You Coach lawyer reserves the right to stop working for you if there is money owed but not paid.
Keeping your information private and ensuring that there is full solicitor-client confidentiality is a big deal. All of the Coach lawyers are sensitive about this and do the best they can to preserve your confidentiality.
Before providing you with the Service, your Coach lawyer will check to see if there’s any conflict of interest if he or she acts for you. A conflict would arise if your Coach lawyer had received any information about your matter from the other party of if he or she had ever acted for the other party. If so, your Coach lawyer will let you know. For this to happen you’ll need to give your Coach lawyer the name of the other party in your matter and possibly the names of any lawyer who has been, or still is, involved in your matter for either you or the other party.
If your Coach lawyer believes that there is a conflict of interest, you’ll be advised that she or he can’t act for you or have any dealings or relationship with you, and no charge will be made by that lawyer for the Service.
You also need to realize that The Family Law Coach is available for anyone to access, and that the other party in your matter may have been in contact with it. The Family Law Coach undertakes to make best efforts not to assign your matter to any Coach lawyer who has had dealings with the other party either through that lawyer’s private practice or through a referral from The Family Law Coach. As well, it will use its best efforts not to assign any matter on behalf of the other party to your Coach lawyer. There is nothing, however, that prevents The Family Law Coach from assigning different lawyers from different law firms to parties who may be adverse in interest, or on opposite sides of your matter.
Lastly, The Family Law Coach uses the services of third-party suppliers from time to time and cannot be responsible for their actions. Every effort is made to be sure that those parties have no personal information about you apart from what’s necessary for them to provide their service. Obvious examples are bookkeepers.