Requiring defense services from criminal defense lawyers may seem like an expensive proposition, however numerous options and resources exist in London Ontario for affordable legal defense services. Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is an affordable option for legal services for financially eligible individuals, such as low-income bracket persons. For example, LAO is available for serious criminal charges where LAO lawyers will offer advice and other necessary legal information.
Furthermore, LAO offers a certificate program to eligible participants in which they will be provided affordable and potentially free legal representation in court. Another option is utilizing low cost community legal clinics in London and across Ontario where individuals also must meet eligibility criteria and if accepted will be provided quality legal advice and other resources to assist with their case defense. Alternatively, if you arrive to court without a lawyer the duty counsel office located in the courthouse can assist you.
Duty counsel comprises of lawyers who offer legal advice to low-income individuals who arrive to court without a criminal defense lawyer. Another option is taking advantage of Pro Bono Ontario Self-Help Centres. Pro bono within a legal context refers to a lawyer who offers free legal service under the public good model for low-income clients. The Pro Bono Ontario Self-Help Centres can assist low-income bracket individuals in accessing free legal advice.
An additional resource is the Law Society Referral Service, in which residents of Ontario are offered a 30 minute consultation by lawyers or paralegals on the phone or in person to help individuals with any legal questions. For individuals who have a middle-range financial position, they may access JusticeNet. JusticeNet is a non-for-profit service that seeks to assist individuals in their legal matters by providing legal expertise to clients who are unable to access LAO but are also unable to afford a private criminal defense lawyer.
If the above resources are not applicable based on you being ineligible from a higher income-bracket, then other strategies also exist for affordable criminal defense services. A criminal defense lawyer may offer discounts on legal fees. Why might a criminal defense lawyer offer discounts to clients? If a client has repeatedly required criminal defense from a lawyer in the past or has referred family or friends for legal assistance the criminal defense lawyer may offer discounts to ensure a long-term relationship.
This will ensure a long-term mutually beneficial relationship of repeat business for the lawyer while assisting clients who may struggle financially. Negotiating on the hourly rate of some criminal defense lawyers may be feasible while others may not accept this cost saving tactic. Many clients however, mistakenly view the hourly rate of criminal lawyers as absolute. A cost effective strategy can follow shopping around for reasonably priced criminal defense services while posing the question, if the hourly rate is able to be negotiated.
This method will enable price sensitive clients to narrow down the search for affordable legal services while further dropping the price via negotiation. Be mindful that lawyers are expert negotiators, therefore if you choose to negotiate on price make sure you have done your homework and offer persuasive claims for why a negotiated price could lead to a win-win.