A free over the phone consultation provides you with the ability to speak to a lawyer about your matter, over the phone, for free. With that being said, the consultation does not include free legal advice, and will only include information of a general nature. Please see our terms for further information.
1. What is a free over the phone consultation?
2. Is the consultation completely confidential?
Yes, any communication to a lawyer is confidential and covered by solicitor-client privilege. Solicitor-client privilege attaches itself to disclosure of confidential information to a lawyer, even if you do not retain that lawyer. With that being said, that does not mean that the lawyer speaking to you during the consultation is your lawyer. You will have to formally engage the lawyer before any lawyer-client relationship is created.
3. During my consultation, will I have to provide the lawyer with my name and other personal details?
Yes, before speaking to any lawyer you will have to provide some personal information about yourself. This information is confidentially maintained by the lawyer.
4. Do you offer alternative fee structures?
Yes, lawyers usually charge in one of two ways: (1) by the hour, where the lawyer's hourly rate is multiplied by the number of hours they have worked on your matter; and (2) through block fees, which cap costs for a range of services detailed by the lawyer.
5. What are pro bono services and do you offer such services?
Pro bono refers to work done for a client with low income. Generally, we do not provide these services. Ontario has many aid clinics available to individuals with low income. It is a good idea to contact such clinics to find out more information.
Business Law Questions
1. I run a small business, do I need to incorporate?
It depends. Incorporation is the process of creating a corporation. Corporations are not always the best business structure to use when running a business. There are a number of different business structures to use that are unique to each business. Generally, incorporation is the route many startup companies choose for a variety of reasons.
2. I am an entrepreneur looking to create a tech startup. What are the first steps that I should take?
One of the first steps a startup should take is to incorporate a corporation. Usually a corporation is the most suitable business structure for tech startups.
3. Should I incorporate federally or provincially (in Ontario)?
While there is no best answer to this, it should be noted that the federal incorporation process may take longer, especially if a name is desired. Federal corporations require annual fees to be paid. Incorporating at the provincial level (in Ontario) does not prevent you from doing business in other jurisdictions of Canada or worldwide. If you incorporate federally, you will still have to register that corporation in a province.
4. I am a non-resident or an international student and would like to incorporate a company in Canada / Ontario. Am I able to incorporate a company in Canada / Ontario?
Yes, but different considerations must be contemplated. Please contact us to further discuss the options available to you.
5. I would like to add / remove a shareholder / owner from my company. Is this possible?
It depends. A lawyer will need to review your minute book to determine the options available.
6. I would like to add / remove a director / officer from my company. Is this possible?
Again, the answer is it depends. A lawyer will need to review your minute book to determine the options available.
7. I have a company, but no minute book. Is that bad?
Yes. A minute book is a record of the corporation's constating documents (articles of incorporation, by-laws, and unanimous shareholder agreement), share ownership, resolutions of shareholders, and various other documents, most of which are required by law to be maintained. If you do not have a minute book or your minute book is not up-to-date, it is best to contact a lawyer to discuss the options available.
Startup Law Questions
1. As an entrepreneur looking to create a tech startup, do I need to incorporate?
It is a good idea. Incorporation may be an extremely important step to take when creating a technology startup. Any intellectual property (IP) should be legally assigned to the company, and each founder should be contractually obligated to assigning any IP they create to the startup.
2. Are there options available to ensure that founders continue to contribute to the company? I've heard about vesting agreements. Is this related?
There are options available to ensure that founders contribute to the startup. One option is to have shareholder agreement and restricted stock agreement in place that restricts the number of shares that vest from the onset of the corporation, and delays vesting of such shares to a later period.
3. Can I give shares to anyone in an attempt to finance the startup?
No, in a private company shares can only be provided to certain individuals. Please speak to a lawyer to determine if the individuals you have in mind qualify. If shares are traded to individuals who do not qualify, then certain securities requirements must be met.
4. We are working out of an incubator and have the option to obtain help from volunteers. Are there special considerations that must be taken into account?
Yes, there are a number of considerations, especially when it comes to volunteers. It is very important that before entering into a volunteer arrangement you consult a lawyer. Your conduct is especially important when interacting with volunteers.
Intellectual Property Law Questions
1. Do I have a trademark if I have been trading under a certain mark even though I haven't registered the mark?
It depends. Regardless, unregistered marks tend to be difficult to prove ownership and entitlement, and enforcement of that mark may be limited to a small geographic location.
2. Someone has registered a domain name with my trademark. What can I do?
You have a couple options available. Please contact a lawyer to discuss your options.
This question has no straightforward answer. Before obtaining any registered IP rights, a good way to protect a concept before disclosing that concept to another entity is by having that entity enter into a Confidentiality Agreement / Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). However, there are certain considerations to take into account, which you should discuss with a lawyer.
4. What relief options does a UDRP provide?
A UDRP complaint provides two relief options: to have the alleged infringing domain suspended or transferred to you, provided that you are successful with the UDRP complaint. If you are successful with a UDRP complaint and have elected to have the domain transferred to you, then you should be able to obtain the domain in question. However, a UDRP does not provided you with a claim to all domains containing the second-level domain name, nor is it a determination of your trademark rights.
5. What are the options when someone registers your trademark as a domain?
There are a few options when it comes to enforcing your trademark rights over a domain squatter.
6. What are the options when someone registers your trademark as a domain?
There are a few options when it comes to enforcing your trademark rights over a domain squatter. The two main effective options are to litigate in court or to submit a domain dispute complaint (i.e. a UDRP) to a domain arbitrator. The domain dispute process is usually the most cost-effective and efficient. Due to the internet spanning worldwide, if you were to receive a judgment over the dispute in a court, it may be difficult to enforce such a judgment in another part of the world. Also, litigation over these items can be costly, as opposed to the UDRP complaint.
7. Someone copied my logo on their website. Is there anything I can do?
Yes, there are a couple of effective options available. It is best to contact a lawyer to discuss your options.
8. I am an artist (photographer, DJ, singer, painter, etc.) and someone stole my art (music, photograph, painting). Is there anything I can do?
Yes, there are options here. It is best to contact a lawyer to discuss your options.
9. I received a letter from my ISP indicating that I downloaded content and now I must pay or else risk being sued for copyright infringement.
Before taking any steps when receiving letters from enforcement companies in the United States, it is best to contact a lawyer.
10. What is the difference between a lawyer and a patent agent?
Sometimes a lawyer is also a patent agent. A lawyer obtains a law degree and passes the bar exam to become a lawyer in Ontario. After the lawyer is called to the bar, the lawyer can provide legal advice. A patent agent usually has a scientific background, must work for 24 months in the area of Canadian patent law and practice, and pass the requisite patent agent exams. A patent agent can then represent applicants in the presentation and prosecution of applications for patents or in other business before the Patent Office.
11. What is the difference between a lawyer and a trademark agent?
Sometimes a lawyer is also a trademark agent. A lawyer obtains a law degree and passes the bar exam to become a lawyer in Ontario. After the lawyer is called to the bar, the lawyer can provide legal advice. A trademark agent must work for 24 months in the area of Canadian trademark law and practice, including preparing and prosecuting trademark applications, and pass the requisite trademark agent exam. A trademark agent can then represent applicants in the presentation and prosecution of applications for the registration of a trade-mark or in other business before the Trade-marks Office.
1. What do I do if I am being sued?
You should contact a lawyer immediately. There are various strategies used when it comes to litigation.
2. Can I represent myself in court?
It depends, but it is never advised.
3. Do I need a lawyer if I am suing / being sued?
It is highly recommended to retain a lawyer when it comes to litigation. Court procedure can be quite complicated. When coupled with the complexities of the law, it is best to seek advice from a lawyer.
Service can be a complex issue. It is best to contact a lawyer to assist you with your matter. Service is a complex procedural issue, which requires careful consideration.
5. Is there a limitation period when it comes to suing someone in Ontario? If so, what is it?
For most civil matters in Ontario, the limitation period can be two (2) years from the date that the claim was discovered. Please note that there is much more to this and it is best to contact a lawyer to evaluate whether you have a limitation issue. The limitation period can be shorter or longer depending on the issue.
6. Is suing someone / going to court the only way to reach your goal in a dispute?
No, court is usually, and should be treated as, the last resort in a dispute. There are alternate ways to resolve a dispute. SLC Law can assist with alternate dispute resolution (ADR).
Technology Law Questions
3. Can I just use a development agreement I found on the Internet?
It is not recommended to use a general development agreement. Every arrangement is unique, and every agreement should be customized to match the arrangement. Most online agreement are drafted without consideration of your needs, generically, using foreign laws, and with no consideration of the laws applicable to your situation.
Commercial Real Estate Law Questions
1. Can you help me with my commercial landlord / tenant issue?
Yes. Keep in mind that commercial tenancies and disputes are very different than residential disputes. SLC Law does not assist with residential tenancy disputes.
2. Can I use a commercial lease that I found online?
It is not recommended to use a commercial lease not drafted by your lawyer. Commercial leases are complex and it is best to retain a lawyer.
Wills and Estates Law Questions
It is a good idea to have a will. Although there is no requirement in Ontario to have a will, it is highly recommended. It helps your loved ones not worry about various procedural issues when it comes to having someone pass away without a will (intestate). A will also ensures that you can choose what you pass on to your loved ones.
2. Is it true that the government can decide who gets my belongings if I pass away without a will (intestate)?2. Is it true that the government can decide who gets my belongings if I pass away without a will (intestate)?
There is legislation that provides what happens in the case that a person passes away without a will (intestate). When someone passes away without a will, it can put a lot of stress on those close to you when they have to deal with procedures required in a situation of intestacy.
Yes, it is best to contact a lawyer to assist you with this.
4. Can I make my own will / power of attorney?
It is not recommended to make your own will or power of attorney. There are various formality requirements when it comes to wills and powers of attorney. It is best to contact a lawyer to assist you with drafting a will / power of attorney.
5. Do I need a power of attorney?
It is a good idea to have a power of attorney. There are two types of powers of attorney in Ontario: (1) a continuing power of attorney for property and (2) a power of attorney for personal care. A power of attorney outlines who can do what for you if something happens where you cannot make those decisions anymore. It is not a simple process to have your family step in if you do not have a power of attorney. A continuing power of attorney for property allows you to appoint someone to make financial decisions for you if you cannot. A power of attorney for personal care allows you to appoint someone to make personal care and health decisions for you if you cannot.
6. Can I draft my own Trust Agreement?
Drafting your own trust agreement is not recommended. Trust Agreements can be very tricky with formalities involved.
1. What is notarizing a document?
Notarizing is a term used loosely. Usually, the term "notarizing" means to have a notary public certify / verify that a copy of a document is a true copy of an original document.
2. Can a notary commission an affidavit?
Yes, in Ontario notaries have the same authority as commissioners for taking affidavits.
No, in Ontario not all lawyers are notaries.
4. Are all lawyers commissioners for taking affidavits?
Yes, in Ontario all lawyers in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario are commissioners for taking affidavits.
5. What is the difference between a lawyer, a notary public, and a commissioner for taking affidavits?
A lawyer can be a notary public and a commissioner for taking affidavits. A lawyer obtains a law degree and passes the bar exam to become a lawyer in Ontario. After the lawyer is called to the bar, the lawyer can provide legal advice. A notary public can notarize documents and a commissioner for taking affidavits can give an oath / solemn declaration and witness to a deponent (a person taking the oath).