Updated: Mar 9, 2021
Did you know that nearly twelve million Canadians will experience at least one legal problem in a given three-year period? Seven million of these problems will be in family law: annual averages indicate that approximately 40% of marriages end in divorce.
Legal problems tend to lead to additional problems: deteriorating health from stress and worry, anxiety and panic affecting an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis, financial difficulties, and strain on relationships, to name a few. And where financial constraints make traditional legal services unaffordable, it is extraordinarily difficult for an individual without prior knowledge of legal language and procedures to self-represent and be successful, as many SRLs will attest.
Where does this leave the average person?
You should not have to worry about what you might have to pay if you ask a professional for legal advice. One option to consider is My Friendly Lawyer, a benefit package that can be added to your employee benefits.
Education and knowledge are the keys to success in the legal world – so what if you don’t have to do the research all on your own?
At My Friendly Lawyer we have found a new way to unbundle legal services. We have separated advice/research from litigation, and the results are proving to be cheaper and less stressful for individuals.
If you have access to the My Friendly Lawyer benefit package through your employer, you can pick up the phone and speak with a lawyer, free of charge, about any legal problem you are having, at a time that is convenient to you. A lawyer will walk you through the process, and what you may need to do in the future. You can call back and speak to the lawyer again if you need further guidance – there are no limits to the length or number of calls you are allowed. We are available to help with all types of legal matter, as we work with many different lawyers specializing in all areas of the law.
My Friendly Lawyer can be offered by your employer as a benefit in your Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Unfortunately, many people – both employers and employees – are as yet unaware that this is even an option.
How does it work?
If you have access to My Friendly Lawyer through your EAP, accessing legal help is very simple:
A toll free 1-800 number will be assigned and dedicated to your organization.Call the legal line and speak with a customer service representative who will triage your call. They will gather general information to ensure that you are contacted by a lawyer with the right expertise to help you. They will also set up a time that is convenient for you to speak with a lawyer.A lawyer will be in contact with you at the scheduled time, and you are free to speak for as long as you need. You are not restricted to one call per issue, so you can call back as many times as you need.
Common issues people call about
People call My Friendly Lawyer for all sorts of different reasons.
Some calls are questions surrounding property ownership – for example: My neighbour is building a fence and I feel it’s crossed over into my property – what can I do? My neighbour is installing a pool and wants to remove my fence and A/C unit to get the heavy equipment through – do I need to let them?
Many of our calls have to do with questions around contracts, business ownership, and employment. For example: The contractor I would like to hire to redo our kitchen is carrying minimal liability insurance, and would like me to sign a hold harmless agreement – is this standard practice? My boss is forcing me to make a lateral move at work and I don’t want to do it – am I required to do it anyway? When is the right time to incorporate my small business, or do I need to do it all?
As we are seeing more individuals representing themselves in family court, we have seen an increase in calls around these types of issues – for example: My ex is claiming that I need to provide them with more information about the kids than I want or agreed to – do I have to provide this?
We also receive questions about bullying, identity theft, and many other issues.
Some calls are very simple and have relatively quick answers, while others last well over 30 minutes and require multiple conversations or call backs.
How can I get access to My Friendly Lawyer?
If you are employed with a benefits package, speak to the appropriate individual in your HR department, or your supervisor/boss. Tell them about this option. Just as with medical or dental benefits, this is a benefit that can be provided in your overall EAP, for less than the cost of your daily coffee.
“Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”. – Richard Branson
For more information on this service, email firstname.lastname@example.org.