The best way to find a good lawyer in Ontario is by way of a trusted referral who has had personal experience with that lawyer in the past. Layer referral services such as the Law Society of Ontario's Referral Service (https://lso.ca/public-resources/finding-a-lawyer-or-paralegal/law-society-referral-service) or Legal Aid Ontario's Find a Lawyer Tool (https://www.legalaid.on.ca/en/getting/findingalawyer.asp) are also ways to find a good lawyer in Ontario.
There are many ways in which to choose a good criminal lawyer. First, obtain a referral from someone you trust. Second, Do your own research by asking aroud or reading online reviews about the lawyer. Finally, meet face-to-face with the lawyer to assess them yourself. Hire an experienced and competent lawyer who will fight for your rights.
If your lawyer is not doing their job you should bring this to their attention. Provide your lawyer with an opportunity to address your concerns. If your lawyer is unable to do so, terminate your relationship with them in writing. Have your previous lawyer removed as your counsel of record and arrange to have your file materials returned to you.
Lawyers can fight hard for you and defend your rights but they cannot get you out of anything. Each case or claim turns on its own facts. A lawyer's job is to advocate for their client however the ultimate decision as to liability or acquittal lies with the judge or jury.
A lawyer can keep you out of jail by securing a withdrawal, acquittal or non-custodial sentence in your case. Relevant factors include the strength of the prosecution's, age of the offender, prior criminal record, acceptance of responsibility, expressions of remorse, the potential for rehabilitation and support in the community.
Lawyers who practice criminal law are most often referred to as criminal lawyers. Criminal lawyers are made up of both defence lawyers and prosecutors/Crown Attorneys. State-funded defence lawyers are commonly referred to as public defenders or duty counsel.
Lawyers are officers of the Court and can get in trouble for lying. They can be prosecuted criminally for obstructing justice, fraud or committing perjury. Lawyers can also be sued civilly for lying to their clients and will also likely receive some form of punishment/suspension from their governing professional body for lying.
You should contact your lawyer as often as need be in order to satisfy yourself that your case is being handled to your satisfaction. You should not contact your lawyer needlessly. If you are paying your lawyer by the hour, this may prove costly. If you have agreed to a block fee or contingency fee, needless calls will annoy your lawyer.
Each client pays his/her lawyer usually in advance of the case beginning. Most lawyers would not take on a case unless the payment had been made at least in part. The payment has nothing to do with the outcome of the case.
Caution should be used when trusting a public defender or duty counsel to handle your case. While most public defenders are trustworthy and hard working, overtaxing workloads, often poor working conditions, insufficient or non-existent support staff and below market pay make it difficult for a public defender to properly defend a case.
Some things you should not do in court include: lying, answering a question you do not know the answer to, guessing, agreeing with the examiner to avoid appearing stupid or disagreeable, chewing gum, talking with your hands in front of your mouth, wearing flashy clothing or jewelry, looking away from the judge or jury, or losing your temper.
Nothing happens if you lose a case as a lawyer. Lawyers typically get paid even when they lose cases. Lawyers are usually hired to advocating on behalf of a client as opposed to obtaining a specific result. In some cases, a lawyer agrees to contingency fees where they get paid if and only if the plaintiff wins or there is a settlement.
In a criminal case, you have to pay a lawyer even if you lose. Criminal lawyers charge for their time, effort and expertise. You may not have to pay your lawyer if you lose a civil case if you have a contingency fee agreement with them.