As an experienced labour and employment lawyer I am very well positioned to provide confidential advice and legal services (including second legal opinions), to individuals, non-profit organizations, unions and businesses of all sizes on a range of specialized legal matters, corporate governance issues and internal or external disputes.
Here is a list of some of the matters that I typically handle:
- Employment law and labour relations
- The law of non-profit corporations and charities
- Municipal Government law and Inter-municipal Services Corporations
- Wrongful dismissal claims
- Advice on severance packages
- Employment contracts, confidentiality and non-competition agreements
- Human Rights law
- Duty to accommodate
- Labour Board matters, including Labour Standards
- Collective bargaining and contract negotiations
- Union representation issues, including duty of fair representation
- Professional conduct regulation
- Neutral workplace incident investigations
- Contract disputes
- Occupational health and safety
- Health Law and Policy, Health Professions
- Grievance arbitrations
- Defamation and ‘cyber libel’
- Collective Bargaining and Commercial Contract Negotiations
- Adult Protection and Elder Abuse
- Workplace Harassment (Respresentation and Neutral Investigations)
- Strategic Planning and Government Relations
- Professional Conduct Regulation
- Regulatory offences & enforcement
- Mediations, Arbitrations and Private Dispute Resolution
I provide private, personal service to my clients. Unlike some law firms, I do not operate a ‘high volume business’ where clients’s cases are routinely handed off to junior lawyers or paralegals who do the actual work. I take on cases and clients selectively and I do not accept every case that I am offered. My main consideration when deciding whether to take on a case is whether I can produce concrete results for the client who entrusts their matter to me. I work in close collaboration with my clients at every step.
Most of my private clients are referred to me by other lawyers. Or the referral may come from clients or family and friends of clients who I have represented in the past. It is also common that the client will self-refer based on their own research, perhaps on the internet, or from what they have learned about my reputation and experience from other sources.
Potential clients make direct contact with me by phone or, increasingly, by email or through this website to make an initial inquiry. I return these calls and emails personally, as soon as possible, often within a few hours. I learn the basic facts to determine the nature of the case and whether it may be something I am able to handle. All inquiries are, of course, strictly confidential. We then usually follow up with a face to face meeting, normally at my office in Kentville or, if that is not convenient, at another location (your home or office, for example) where your privacy can be assured. I accept clients throughout Nova Scotia and, on certain matters, anywhere in Atlantic Canada.
At the first meeting, which is usually for an hour or more, I will learn the facts of the case in some detail from you and I will review any relevant documents or letters that you have brought with you. Based on that information I will give you my professional opinion, not only about the strengths and weaknesses of the case but also explaining in plain English the options you have and my professional advice about how to best proceed. We will also discuss the potential cost of the various options involved, as they are currently known, so you can make an informed decision. Most of the time I can provide that preliminary opinion at the first meeting, but if the case is especially complex I may prefer to provide a written legal opinion. If necessary, that is usually done within a few days.
I do not offer “free initial consultations”. That is a marketing tactic used mostly by personal injury lawyers. Like most of my clients, I prefer to get straight down to business. I charge a flat fee for initial consultations.
If you decide you wish to retain me, and if I decide to accept the case, I will prepare a standard ‘engagement letter’ for your review that specifies our solicitor-client relationship, the fee structure and other expected costs involved for the matter. Normally, I will require the client to provide an amount of money (called a ‘retainer’) to be kept in trust and applied toward fees and expenses. I may enter into a deferred fee arrangement, whereby I will not bill you until the matter is completed or settled, other times (and this is usually the case with business clients) my fees will be billed monthly as the matter proceeds.
Based on our discussions, I will clarify with you the approach and strategy I will use in your case. As the case proceeds and as new information is learned, particularly about the position of the other side, I will keep you informed and I will obtain further instructions from you and I will make further recommendations to you as required. I will not start a legal action or negotiate a final resolution (settlement) without your specific instructions.
All of my clients want the matter resolved fairly, quickly and with the least possible cost to them. So do I. I have no interest in prolonging a case unnecessarily and I do not take on cases purely as a ‘learning experience’.
Most of my cases settle out of court through negotiations. That is where the lawyer’s experience, professional reputation and skills as a negotiator most come into play. Any lawyer can start a lawsuit. The problem is often how to end it (or prevent it) on terms that are fair and reasonable.
There are, of course, still cases that cannot be settled, for any number of reasons, and that can only be resolved after a trial or a hearing. If that becomes necessary, I will proceed on your instructions and on my substantial experience as an advocate before all levels of courts and tribunals.
Conclusion of the Matter
When the case is completed our solicitor-client relationship ends. If you have corporate lawyer or firm they will continue in that capacity. I you have another lawyer for your personal matters like mortgages and wills, you should continue with them as well. Of course, you are always free to call me if something else comes up.
Cases I Do Not Handle
I do not handle real estate purchases or sales or give tax advice. I do not draft wills or proctor estates, incorporate companies or handle divorce cases. There are plenty of other lawyers for those kinds of things. Most importantly, I do not take on cases that lack legal merit or where legal action is being pursued simply as means of oppression. I may, however, take on the defense of such claims. If you have any doubt about whether yours is a case I might take on, please don’t hesitate to contact me for a confidential discussion. If I decide for any reason not to accept the case I will make a referral, at no cost to you, to another lawyer who may be able to handle it for you.