Employees and employers alike sometimes require the services of an employment lawyer. Whether you are negotiating an employment contract, dealing with the difficult circumstances around a possible wrongful dismissal, or even managing the nuances of a human rights complaint, employment lawyers offer a breadth of expertise that may effectively serve employees as well as employers. Indeed, just as there are a wide variety of services provided by employment lawyers, there are a wide variety of individuals from a wide range of sectors who seek these services. So, how do you ensure that you are choosing the right employment lawyer?
Whether you are a freelancer, contractor, entrepreneur, employee, or business owner, the process of selecting an employment lawyer will generally follow similar stages. First, you want to identify potential employment lawyers and set up an initial meeting. But then, even finding lawyers can be a trick – you can search online or ask friends, family, and colleagues. Ideally, you want to gather some information about the services the employment lawyer provides, and the quality of that service and then narrow your search to your top candidates.
After identifying your preferred candidates, you’ll arrange an initial consultation to discuss your concerns and the lawyer’s expertise and past experience. Always make sure to meet with the lawyer who will ultimately take on your case. During this initial meeting, you can get a sense of the employment lawyer’s professionalism and communication style to determine if it’s a good fit for you. Additionally, you should ask about the cost of services, the lawyer’s opinion about the likely outcome and action plans, as well as potential timelines for your case.
You may also want to ask for references from your employment lawyer. They may be able to offer testimonials or even put you in touch with previous clients who would be willing to speak to their experience with that lawyer. However, given confidentiality rules, you may not always be able to get in touch with past clients, which is why it is always advisable to seek recommendations from friends and colleagues first.
Next, you want to get a better sense of the lawyer’s experience. You can ask about how long they have been practicing employment law and the kinds of cases they have handled in the past. Even ask the employment lawyer about their rate of success. Speaking again about lawyer’s fees, you can also get more information about how you will need to pay the fees (up-front, at the end of service, or monthly bills, for example).
Finally, consider logistical factors such as the lawyer’s location and the size of their firm. Ideally, you want to work with a lawyer that is local and accessible to you. And while you may have preferences between working with a large firm with extensive expertise, smaller and medium-sized firms often develop closer relationships with their clients.