Our Intake Process
When you reach out to Scocco Law, you’ll first be connected to one of our wonderful intake coordinators who will help guide you through our process. They’ll get some confidential information from you including details such as your name and address, and a short description of the nature of your matter. We are also required to ask you for a piece of government issued ID so that we can verify your identity before working with you.
Before scheduling a consultation with one of our lawyers, our team will run what is known as a conflict check. This is to ensure that we have no conflicts of interest in potentially representing you, and that we have not previously represented any opposing parties. If that is the case, we will let you know that we are unable to assist, and that you will need to seek out another lawyer.
The majority of our consultations are virtual, which means that you will be meeting with Mr. Scocco via a video or telephone call. Most of our clients prefer this method, as it is easier for scheduling and less time consuming than travelling to our office. If however you prefer to meet with Mr. Scocco in person, we will do our best to arrange a weekend appointment at our Toronto or Collingwood office.
Should you choose to retain our services to represent you in your matter, our team will prepare a retainer agreement, which should be in your inbox within 48 hours for your signature.
The first question that most people ask their lawyer is “how much is this going to cost me?” We understand that! Budget can be a concern for many clients, and we appreciate that clients are understandably hesitant to ‘throw good money after bad’ when it comes to their legal spend.
The one-hour consult with Mr. Scocco is $339, which includes HST. After that point, if you choose to retain our services, we can structure our fees in different ways depending on the nature of your matter. Some disputes are best suited for an hourly rate, while others may make most sense to do on a flat fee model. We also offer some clients ‘block fees,’ where we are able to offer a flat fee rate for various stages of your representation.
No matter what model you choose, we need a retainer amount to begin working on your file. This is different than the retainer agreement, which is the contract you sign with our firm that allows us to represent you. Retainer funds are what allow us to commit our time and energy to working with you, and ensure that we have sufficient funds in place to do our best work in representing you.
The amount of our retainer fees will differ depending on your matter, and Mr. Scocco will be glad to discuss our various fee structures should you decide to retain our firm. We accept payment by cheque, e-transfer, or by all major credit cards.
What To Expect Next
Once we have your retainer agreement and your retainer funds, we roll up our sleeves and get to work! The reality though is that the majority of legal work happens behind the scenes, and often we are waiting for the other side to respond to a letter or email, or waiting on the court or tribunal to schedule our next steps.
There are deadlines in litigation that are crucial, and so it is imperative that we move quickly where circumstances require. For that, we need your full participation. A lawyer’s role is to advise you and make recommendations, but we cannot take any action without your express directions. This will mean that we will need timely responses to phone calls or emails that we send in order to take those necessary next steps.
Many clients are cautious of their budget when it comes to their legal spend, and we understand that. Remember, every phone call or email that we send, or that we respond to from you, is going to escalate your bill. We are happy to provide routine updates, but those routine updates will then be added to your bill.
A great way to keep your legal spend in check is to batch your questions, and send your lawyer multiple questions in one email vs. multiple emails with one question each. This will cut down on the amount of time it takes your lawyer to respond, and thus can save on costs for the long term.
Remember, though, as your lawyers we are here whenever you need us. Do not avoid telling us crucial information, or delay sending documents, just because you’re frightened to reach us. Any unnecessary delays can raise your spend or even impact your results. If you need to reach us, or have an urgent question, please feel free to connect at any time.
At its heart, litigation is a civil dispute between two parties (as opposed to a criminal dispute, which is between an individual and the Crown, or the state). The litigation process is centered around a legal claim that is filed with the courts. Some matters can start even earlier, by filing a notice with the court and the other party that a claim is forthcoming.
Timing is of the essence. There is a Statute of Limitations in Ontario, as well as respective limitation periods, which outline how long you have to pursue a claim against another person. Generally speaking, this may be two years from the date that the events happened, but some claims such as defamation offer plaintiffs only a matter of weeks to take action.
While litigation requires filing your claim with the court and moving through a formal court process, that does not automatically mean that your matter will wind up in court before a judge. The reality in Canada is that nearly 99% of all civil cases settle, or resolve, before trial. Not only that, but the courts do everything in their power to encourage early settlement.
There are several more steps that come into play after a claim begins, which can include:
- Discoveries – where the parties exchange documents and then can meet to question each other’s witnesses on the evidence collected
- Case conferences – A meeting between the lawyers and a judge to discuss how a matter would move ahead with the trial
- Settlement conferences – An informal meeting between the parties, their lawyers, and a judge (not the judge you would have in a trial) to explore whether an early settlement may be possible
- Motions – a brief court appearance where lawyers can argue a small portion or element of your larger case before a judge
There are also ways to settle your dispute outside of a courtroom that go beyond lawyers exchanging offers. Mediation involves working with a third-party neutral expert who can help both sides negotiate in order to get to a settlement early on, without the headaches and expense of going through a full trial.
Another option is arbitration, which can involve hiring a ‘private judge’ of sorts, who can hold a mini-trial to help resolve the issues. Arbitration is a formal process that takes place outside of a courtroom, and when the proceedings are over the arbitrator issues a ruling, which is legally binding. This is still an involved process, but there is less uncertainty and less expense than resolving things in court.
Remember, no settlement is perfect. It can be immensely frustrating if you feel that you have a surefire case to settle for less than you may have expected to get from a judge. However, results in a courtroom can be unpredictable. Trials can cost significant time and money, and there is no guarantee of results, so an early resolution can keep you in control of making any decisions. The benefit of settlement is that you have a measure of control over the outcome, and the decision stays in your hands.
No matter what happens, our job is to guide you through the entire process. We will never recommend an unfair settlement, and our job is to advocate for your position wherever.