Coaching and Support

Recently, many self-represented clients have contacted me about providing coaching and support services.  While full-service lawyering is always useful, many clients are now choosing to represent themselves in their family law or child protection proceedings because of financial or personal reasons.  In our experience, coaching and support can be an effective use of limited resources and usually leads to high client satisfaction with the lawyer’s services.

Given the explosion in interest in this service, the below are our answers to some commonly asked questions about these services.  Please note that the below is intended as information only and is not legal advice.  If you want more information about how a lawyer can help you represent yourself, please contact us.

What is coaching and support?

Coaching and support is sometimes called “limited-scope retainers” because it is assistance provided that is “limited” to what you think would be most helpful.  What this means is that you will work with us to determine how to most effectively allocate your financial resources.  For some clients, this may mean that we assist with “behind the scenes” advice.  For others, it may mean that we assist with drafting.  For still others, it may mean that we assist with performing a support calculation.  The work done by us will be limited to what you think would be helpful.

What coaching and support is not is full service lawyering. Unless specifically agreed to by you, we will not be representing you in court and we will not be assisting you in every part of your case as a traditional lawyer would.  You will remain responsible for your case entirely.

What are some examples of coaching & support services?

  • Providing you with information and advice about court processes
  • Providing you with information about substantive areas of the law
  • Assisting you with litigation strategy
  • Assisting you with filing of materials
  • Reviewing financial disclosure
  • Assisting with the organization and assembly of document briefs
  • “Ghost-writing” court documents on your behalf
  • Crafting court submissions on your behalf
  • Preparing or reviewing settlement offers
  • Performing child support and spousal support calculations
  • Providing you with caselaw research and memos
How is this beneficial?

The primary benefits of coaching and support is that it reduces your legal fees.  It allows us to determine what is the most important work that needs to be done.  It also allows us to more accurately predict the amount of time needed to complete the work, which increases your ability to manage the costs associated with legal fees.

What are the disadvantages?

The most significant disadvantage is that in most cases, we will not know all the details in your case and our legal advice will be limited by that fact.  Legal advice is always fact specific.  While we will try to find out as much information as we can from you to assist you, our advice will be limited by the facts you choose to tell us.

Are all cases suitable for coaching and support?

No.  Complicated and involved cases are generally not suitable for coaching and support.  In these types of cases, full service representation would be the preferable approach because they require a lawyer with knowledge of all the facts.

Do I need to meet with you?

Except for the initial consultation, which we require to be in-person, we are able to offer coaching and support over the phone at a time convenient to you.

How will I be charged?

In all cases, we insist on an initial one-hour in-person consultation at our hourly rates during which time we will work on a plan that would most efficiently use the resources available to you.  The following are some of the pricing models that may be offered after the initial consultation, depending on your case:

  • If you require only telephone coaching, you can purchase time in 15-minute increments.  This will allow you to control your cost and get targeted advice as required.
  • If you require drafting, document preparation, or other services, that cost may be determined on a case-by-case basis.  Generally, the cost of such services will depend on the complexity of the document or service and the amount of time it would take a lawyer to complete it.
  • If you are wish to have a more flexible arrangement, a traditional retainer arrangement for limited services may be discussed.

Why do you require an initial one-hour consultation?

The reason I insist on a mandatory one-hour consultation in the beginning is that I find it is necessary to spend time with clients to understand what they are going through.  Subsequent advice is more helpful and the time is spent more efficiently if I have some background knowledge of your case.