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Un-bundled legal services

Posted by on Aug 12, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Un-bundled legal services

Prospective Client: “I want justice!” Lawyer: “How much justice can you afford?” Client: “I make $12 an hour” Lawyer: “So do I, but I charge $250 an hour because of overhead. I also have a $5,000 insurance deductible if I make a mistake” Client: “Legal Aid said I make more than $19,000.00 annually so no luck. I can pay you $500 now and $500 in a month or two. My court date is in 3 weeks” Lawyer: “I can write the Court and ask for a lengthy postponement because an important witness, “Mr. Green” is absent (Lawyer motions in direction of client’s wallet) Client: “I thought the Charter gave me a right to a lawyer if I get into serious trouble” Lawyer: “That’s only at the time of arrest,  not for going to court, when you really need one, and not for civil / family / housing cases” Client: “Can you help?” Lawyer: “In the past I would limit my retainer, but now there is this new thing called unbundling” Client: “What’s that?” Lawyer: “Think of it as hiring your surgeon only for only the most challenging parts of your surgery, and leaving the routine parts such as anesthesia and sewing the incision back up for you to do” Client: “What a good idea, you do less so you can charge less?” Lawyer: “Exactly. We do less and have less control so there is a greater chance you will botch up somewhere and make a claim against me. In this way we can increase access to justice for low income people like you” Client: “Where do I sign? Lawyer: “Right here. Check off those parts of your lawsuit / crisis that you want me to handle and those parts you will be doing yourself. (Lawyer reviews form with client) Client: “I’ll chose Pleadings” Lawyer: “Good choice, that’s $200” Client: “I’ll chose for you to show up at the court” Lawyer: “Good choice, but please note that advocacy is extra” Client: “What’s advocacy?” Lawyer: “An extra $300…$400 if I know the Judge” Client: “Nah, I think I’ll skimp on that, I have to cut somewhere” Lawyer: What about investigation, answering correspondence, and reporting” Client: “I don’t need all the bells and whistles, here’s $500” Lawyer: “Thank you. Are you perfectly clear on what unbundled services are your responsibility and what are mine?” Client: “Absolutely,  it’s all spelled out on the form. Hiring a lawyer was cheaper than I thought!”   Sheldon Tenenbaum...

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Master’s Papers

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Master’s Papers

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Mortgage Lectures

Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Mortgage Lectures

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Radon Testing

Posted by on Mar 15, 2012 in Articles | Comments Off on Radon Testing

Radon Testing So you are ready to buy your new house.  You have checked that your Home Insurance Policy will cover the $100,000.00 soil removal and remediation costs arising from any leakage in the capped oil tank outback.  You have checked the tap water for lead levels.  You have done a spore counttest for mould in the damp basement.  You have checked for asbestos in the walls and insulation of the home.  You have even made sure that your neighbour appears to be a warm and friendly human being. But Wait! Have you checked for radon levels in the occupied areas of your home?  I recently attended a lecture given by Scott Cryer at PinchinEnvironmental  Ltd. and I was left with the impression that you better have. By way of background,Pinchin Environmental Ltd. (905-363-0678) is a company used by some of our clients to conduct environmental testing, monitoring, and remediation supervision associated with the purchase and management of ICI properties.  According to Health Canada, an investigation of 9000 homes nationwide revealed that approximately 7% of Canadian homes have radon levels in excess of the Canadian Standard of 200 bequerels per cubic metre, our standard being twice the World Health Organization standard of 100 bequerels per cubic metre.  The Canadian standard was recently dropped from 800 bequerels per cubic metre.  According to Health Canada,” on average, 10% of lung cancers are attributable to radon exposure worldwide. In 2006, an estimated 1,900 lung cancer deaths in Canada were due to radon exposure. Radon is the 2nd leading cause of lung cancer, after smoking”.  While this far exceeds the number of annual Canadian deaths due to gunshots and fire, it is almost ignored by the press because the effects are long term. You can test for radon.  Home Depot sells kits and so does Pinchin Environmental.  The cost is about $100.00 including lab fee.  Unfortunately Health Canada recommends that the tests occur over at least 90 (ninety) days to account for many differences thataffect levels of radon including the use of heating, airconditioning, temperature outside, open windows and other factors.  You can however get a shorter snapshot result in 2 (two) days.  The preferred method is a small ionization chamber left in the area to be tested, but away from meddling children / pets.  In most houses the highest radon level and therefore the area to test would be the basement apartment (assuming you even care about the nanny or basement tenant), or if you are like me, the living room where you watch TV and fall asleep on the couch. I have a few of these units at my law firm that you can buy from me at cost. We are a long way from having every house being tested and registered for radon levels in the way Toronto restaurants are forced to post their health inspections.  I am not sure I want to know my radon levels and very slightlymore uneasy that a third party laboratory will know my radon levels.  Until recently it seems that no one seemed to care about radon levels.  In effect the government and real estate industry had stuck their collective heads in the sand about the issue.  Mr. Cryer would agree that having your head in the sand is about the worst place you would want it to be to avoid exposure to radon.  You see, radon is generated from the breakdown of naturally occurring uranium in the soil resulting in colourless, odourless and tasteless airborne (and to a lesser extent watrerborne)  radiation.As noted, the Real Estate industry who has known about this issue...

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