General FAQs

FAQs About Our Law Practice

No lawyer can guarantee with 100% certainty a successful outcome and any lawyer stating otherwise is of questionable integrity. Beware of lawyers who make cavalier and grandiose pronouncements or who are not forthright with you about the strengths and weaknesses of your case at its outset and throughout its duration.

Because legal disputes are inherently complex it is recommended to retain a qualified counsel who will be able to see the material issues and angles in the case and represent you strategically and intelligently. Over the years we have successfully litigated or have been involved in countless legal matters and disputes and our body of work, of which we are proud, speaks for itself.

What we can guarantee is that we will provide you with confident, competent, honest and reliable advocacy. We will stand by your side and be your ally throughout your matter up to and including its conclusion. Moreover, we will always advise you of the risks and benefits you might reasonably expect in your case, and we will not recommend that you proceed with a lawsuit if it is plain and obvious that your case will have no chance of success.

Generally, this question is sometimes brought up by prospective clients who want to know whether the lawyer is known to be successful at court in a trial situation.   The prospective client wants to feel confident that the lawyer they ultimately retain will “win” at trial.   However, the answer to the question of a lawyer’s “success rate” is complicated and needs to be fine-tuned to each matter that the lawyer has in hand.  It cannot be answered in terms of percentages or percentile figures.  It must be understood that “success” can mean something very different to each client depending on their unique circumstance.   

You should be aware that almost all cases result in a settlement prior to trial. Please be wary of any lawyer that answers the question of a “success rate” in terms like “I win 90% of all my cases!”  That type language is of immediate concern as it cannot possibly be accurate as, again, the vast majority of cases settle well prior to trial.  Very few cases make it all the way to a trial.  There are very good reasons for this.  Trials are expensive for the client, time consuming and stressful and the result is left completely up to a judge.  They should be avoided if possible as it generally preferable to mediate a result to a dispute.  As such, a lawyer’s “success” will depend on the lawyer’s knowledge of the law and procedure (which is a crucial measure of competency) but also on the facts and evidence presented by the client to the lawyer in that matter. In consequence, a lawyer’s “success rate” should be measured by the effective, efficient and compelling presentation of the case to the other side without necessarily having to argue the matter before the judge.  

Further, sometimes depending on the matter, a lawyer’s “success rate” should be measured through “damage control” rather than “winning a case” due to the client’s bad decisions which have led him or her to retain the lawyer in the first place.   

Finally, sometimes a trial cannot be avoided because it is the right thing to do for the type of dispute, the facts of the matter and the temperament of the client.  A lawyer’s “success rate” in this case may rightly be reflected on the insistence of a certain legal position that would invariably result in a trial of the matter.  

Fundamentally you should know two things when it comes to the “success rate” of our firm or any other lawyer you may choose to retain in your matter. First, a lawyer’s job is to provide competent and confident representation to their client, and we will do this for you at Zeilikman Law. Second, we will not turn away your case even if it is a difficult case if your case is worthy to pursue or necessary to defend. In such instances, we will offer you our services despite any complexities or challenges the case may bring with it.

Yes. Do it once and do it right.

Lawyers are professionals who should be compensated for their time and expertise. A free consultation does not guarantee bad advice per se, however, you should be careful not to fall into the trap of obtaining free legal advice. If offered, be sure that you are being consulted by an actual licensed and qualified lawyer and that the lawyer has spent enough time to get to know your case, review the relevant documents and provide you with an objective opinion about your matter. We value our time and your time – we do not want to feel rushed when consulting a person and we do not want the person to feel like we are not providing them with our full attention. Remember: you do not only get what you pay for; you also don’t get what you don’t pay for.

You can read about our consultation process here.

Absolutely. At our law firm we ensure to keep a constant and open channel of communication with our clients. It is not only our professional responsibility, but it is a matter of common sense. We typically provide our clients with regular updates about the status of their file during various stages in the litigation process. We also ensure to advise the client of all material communications from the other side and the court. Finally, we always consult with our client and confirm instructions prior to taking substantive steps in their matter. We never make a critical decision in the matter without the client’s input and instruction.

Unfortunately, we cannot provide you with a concrete answer – no one can. However. employment litigation files typically have a shorter “life span” than most litigation matters such as family law disputes, estates disputes, commercial litigation, etc. Professional discipline matters also depend on a variety of factors including the responsiveness of the decision-maker in the tribunal.

Ultimately, each legal matter tends to assume its own momentum that is predicated on many factors that are often beyond the lawyer’s control. For instance, the duration of your employment law file may depend on the behaviour of the opposite side including the other side’s legal representative. Many of our clients’ “straightforward” wrongful dismissal matters tend to be resolved within 3-6 months if settled; however, no lawyer can ever guarantee how long a file may take and some files involving contentious issues may take a few years to settle or be decided by the court. What we can assure you is that we will not sit idly on your file. Barring factors that are beyond our control, we will take steps to move your matter forward as expeditiously as is reasonably possible.

Our firm will typically bill either at an hourly rate or on a “contingency” or “win” basis depending on the matter at hand. We do not set out whether we will accept the matter on a “contingency” basis until we agree to be retained and until after the conclusion of the consultation process. To get a better idea of our retainer arrangements please visit our Fees page here.

There is a myth out there that lawyers must be “aggressive” in order to be effective counsel. This ridiculous myth has been perpetuated in the minds of people for years thanks to the media. It is relatively common for lawyers to be portrayed in film or TV shows in a manner where they can be seen to be making continuous sarcastic and insulting comments or even outright hostility to opposing counsel. Many people live under the mistaken assumption that a lawyer is supposed to be “difficult” or even rude with the lawyer representing the other side. This deeply misinformed opinion cannot be further from the truth.

Firstly, it is a professional requirement of counsel in Ontario to act civilly with each other – this is not only a matter of common sense but an actual regulatory standard and a rule of conduct.

Secondly, you may be surprised to find out that cooperating with the lawyer from the other side is a good thing that will typically result in a less stressful process and a more positive outcome to you as the client.

We are proud to say that over the course of our years in practice we have been able to gain the respect of numerous opposing counsel due to our high regard for professional ethics and standards all whilst being able to effectively advocate on our clients’ behalf without backing down from our client’s cause.

Of course, we are not blind to the fact that some lawyers will disregard their professional obligations and act in a difficult manner to make you quit or give up your case. You should know that these lawyers are a small minority of all lawyers, and they are not effective litigators. Moreover, you can rest assured that such conduct will not faze us at all as we have experience dealing with difficult counsel.

If we have committed to represent you in your case, we will continue to confidently stay the course in your matter until it is either settled or decided by the court.