Self-represented? I can help you fight ... properly.The common law legal system is based on fighting - normally two opponents competing with each other to convince a judge or an adjudicator that their evidence should win the case for them. From it's start, that system assumes an integral role for lawyers - trained experts at the law and evidence, taking a side and fighting for their client.
But that model has largely collapsed for the poor and the middle class. People simply can't afford lawyers to represent them. I see so many cases now that are self-represented without choice - before tribunals, trial courts and even now in the appeal courts.
The sad truth is that the vast majority of self-represented cases lose. Sometimes they lose for the 'right' reason - they had 'bad facts' and would have lost even if their case had been well-presented. Those cases never should have been started.
But the unrepresented lose at a far greater rate than can be explained by bad facts, they lose because practicing law is complex at the best of times, and they get overwhelmed by the procedure and the law that applies to their case.
Self-reppers aren't stupid, but it's hard to expect them to fight fairly in something that they're not experienced in and have little or no training - not compared to lawyers, paralegals and government CPOs (case presenting officers). And with the COVID epidemic those procedures are changing, almost day to day.
They need what I can provide - and have provided over 12 years of advising self-reppers (and 25 years of law practice). They need their case legally and practically explained to them in detail. An assessment of the who, what, where, when - and most importantly the how (tactics) of advancing their case. They need an objective opinion on the merits of their case and how to make it better.
Before I take on any case, I insist on providing a litigation assessment [see link for details] to assess and explain the merits of your case, no matter at what stage you may already be in. In fact, I've seen so many self-reppers run cases that can be won - but are doomed by fatal, uncorrected mistakes - that I won't take a case without first doing a litigation assessment [so if you're looking for help with 'just a part of a case' (aka "limited scope retainers"), I'm not the lawyer for you].
Then, after the assessment is done - and we see where we are, and where you want to go - I also offer litigation support [see link for details] to advise you through the actual conduct of the case, step-by-step.
InstructionsTo talk to me about your case on a preliminary no-charge basis:
Emails not meeting these requirements may be ignored.
- send a photo (no .pdfs) of your driver's license, passport or other approved I.D. (ask); and
- include the phrase "cleopatra rules" in your email, to signify that you agree with the following statement:
I agree that any preliminary discussions I have with the lawyer Simon Shields are for the purpose of considering whether I want to hire him to legally advise me while I self-represent in legal matters. Until such time as we enter into a contract for legal advice and services at an agreed and paid fee, our communications do not constitute legal advice and I remain responsible for my own legal affairs. I have read this client page and it's links fully, and I accept the terms therein. By these preliminary legal discussions I incur no fee or charge to myself.
- You can check my status as a lawyer with the Law Society of Ontario: LSO #37308N.
- Check that your situation falls within my areas of practice. If I feel that your issue is outside of my experience, or for any other reason, I may decline to provide services.
- Everything we say to each other in the course of case-related communications is covered by solicitor-client privilege, even if you do not hire me for services.
- Case narratives: you don't have to send one in the first email, but a case narrative will help me understand your case, and I will probably want it later anyway. This is a preliminary, chronologically-organized narrative of your situation that includes key dates and events, to a maximum of 500 words. Do not send any case-related documents until I specifically request them - though a chronological list of documents (dates, # of page, author, nature of document) related to the case would be useful.
FAQs1. Do you offer legal representation services?
No, due to physical injuries I am limited in ambulation. All my services are by email, and you continue to represent yourself.
2. What are your rates?
Each case is different. I review the case, and then quote a flat-rate fee for work that I think the case needs. Flat-rate means a lump sum fee, not an hourly rate. All fees require prepayment and are HST-free. No refunds. Payment is preferred by Interac. Paypal is available (you can use a credit card) but I add Paypal charges to the fee, and services may be delayed (sometimes days) until fees clear to my bank. I don't start working until the agreed fee is received in my bank.
3. Can I speak with you on the phone?
I have a speech handicap that makes practicing law difficult in that medium, so I don't use it for work. Also I prefer email as speech is transient and easily forgotten, whereas email provides a permanent verbatim record of our communications so we can both verify what was said, which is so important in law.