Welcome To Acacia Group!
Our team of lawyers and consultants is looking forward to helping you meet your personal and professional needs.
If you are unsure about whether you require the help of one of our lawyers or consultants, or if you would like to briefly discuss your situation before formally retaining us, we are happy to offer a free 15-minute consultation. Please click here to book your consultation online, or contact Beth Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of the client onboarding process, you will have an opportunity to “meet” two of our team members:
Beth and Faye will ensure that your onboarding process goes smoothly, that you fully understand each step, and that all the required documentation is completed. If you have any questions during this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to them or the professional assigned to your matter.
The Six Steps of the Onboarding Process
A few steps are part of The Acacia Group’s client onboarding process, and most of the steps are required by the Law Society of Ontario.
- Step 1: We will collect basic information from you using our firm’s Client Intake Form.
- Step 2: We will run a Conflict Check to ensure there are no conflicts of interest that would preclude us from representing you.
On the Client Intake Form, you are asked to include the names of other involved parties in the legal matter. We will run your name and the other parties’ names through our client database software to ensure that we are not in a position of conflict.
What is a conflict of interest? For lawyers, it entails two primary duties owed to our clients: confidentiality and loyalty. If we have acquired confidential information from a client, we cannot, in most cases, act against that client later. The duty of loyalty also prevents us from acting contrary to the interests of an existing client of our firm.
- Step 3: If no conflict of interest is identified, we will open a client file.
- Step 4: You will then receive a Retainer Letter by email.
The Retainer Letter sets out the agreement or contract between yourself and the lawyer who will be working for you. It describes the legal services they have committed to providing you, our fees, and other matters, including billing practices and solicitor-client privilege. Please review this document carefully and sign it through our platform.
- Step 5: You will pay the Retainer Deposit.
In the retainer letter, your lawyer sets out the Retainer Deposit required. This amount is determined by our firm’s internal policy on retainer deposits, the existing relationship you may have with your lawyer, and the nature and complexity of the proposed mandate. Before we begin work on your behalf, and as security for the final account, we require a Retainer Deposit. The Retainer Deposit will be held in a non-interest-bearing trust account registered with the Law Society of Ontario. When we issue our final account at the completion of our mandate, we apply the trust funds to that invoice and any unused portion of the retainer will be refunded.
You may send the retainer deposit by cheque, made out to “The Acacia Group In Trust.” You may also send it by e-transfer and please note in the message box the client’s name and that the funds are for the Retainer Deposit.
- Step 6: We will verify your identity.
The Law Society of Ontario requires that lawyers verify the identity of their clients before representing them. You will receive a form through our platform that must be completed. You must also provide us with proof of identification.
Once these steps are complete, the client onboarding process is complete.
Frequently Asked Questions
Generally, our fees for services are based upon the hourly rates for the lawyers and professionals who do the work. Our hourly rates are based on experience, training, and level of professional attainment. To minimize your legal costs, we will utilize junior lawyers, law clerks, students, and legal support professionals when possible, and in a manner commensurate with the level of expertise required.
Alternatively, for some standardized legal matters such as an incorporation or the preparation of a will, you may be offered a flat rate.
When we launched The Acacia Group, we carefully structured the firm to minimize overhead without compromising the quality of our services. We now offer some of the most competitive rates in the Canadian market for legal and communications services.
You will also be responsible for reimbursing us for expenses (also called disbursements) we incur on your behalf and office charges allocated to your file.
These include administration charges and fees, couriers, travel expenses, computerized legal research, and government filing and search charges, among others.
The Acacia Group does not charge clients for staff overtime on evenings or weekends.
As a firm, we take every reasonable effort to reduce the number and amount of fees and expenses that are charged back to the client. Many firms must charge their clients for each photocopy, long-distance phone call, and fax. We are not required to do so. Due to the unique structure of our firm, our overhead is very low; savings which we can pass along to our clients.
We invoice our clients on or around the 15th of each month. We request that all invoices be paid within 30 days.
Preferred methods of payment are by e-transfer or by cheque. If you send funds by e-transfer, please note the client's name and invoice number in the message box. If you pay by cheque, please make all amounts payable to "The Acacia Group."
You may pay by credit card by clicking the blue "Click here to pay this invoice" link located on the monthly invoice.
The three primary ways to reduce your legal fees are to
(1) determine your goals early on,
(2) ensure all information and documentation we require is complete, and
(3) be intentional when communicating with your lawyer.
For example, in an employment law case, a client should decide from the beginning if a problematic employee should be terminated, or whether their employment contract should be changed and renegotiated to move the employee to a more suitable position. If the employer changes their mind several times over the course of several months, that will naturally increase the number of hours the lawyer works on the file. We recommend identifying early on with your lawyer the challenges you are facing, and how you would like them best addressed.
Secondly, if we require information from you, such as previous court filings, contracts, or information to prepare a power of attorney, please ensure that all the documentation is complete.
Lastly, if you book a call with your lawyer, be prepared and determine which questions you would like answered. If you are sending an email to your lawyer, combine your questions into one email rather than sending your lawyer multiple emails over a 48-hour period. This will help your lawyer best meet your needs and it will also reduce the time your lawyer needs to respond to your inquiries.
Yes, in most cases, the members of the Acacia Group all offer discounts to churches and registered charities.
Each year, we carefully select for representation on a pro-bono or partial pro-bono basis a small number of cases that could have long-term jurisprudential and cultural impact. We assist these clients in setting up fundraising campaigns to cover some of the legal costs and disbursements, such as filing fees and travel costs.
One of our founding lawyers, Albertos Polizogopoulos, recently received an award for completing 2,500 pro bono hours on religious freedom cases. Since beginning his practice, Albertos has now completed close to 4,000 pro bono hours, valued at more than $1 million.
For more information, please visit our Rights Advocacy page.
We keep your matters confidential. Information we receive from you is subject to the solicitor-client privilege.
However, we may at some point be under an independent ethical duty to reveal privileged information where: (a) disclosure is required due to imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm, or (b) we are required to disclose the information by law or court order.
We will do our best to serve you to the best of our abilities. However, the outcome of any matter is subject to inherent risks and other factors beyond our control. Therefore, we cannot make guarantees or promises concerning the outcome of any litigation matter.
Our Onboarding Team’s job is to ensure that we satisfy your legal and consulting needs. We are here to answer any questions you may have throughout our working relationship, including questions about billing and communications. Please do not hesitate to reach out to Faye or Beth at any point and for any reason.
The lawyer assigned to your matter is also readily available to answer any matter-specific questions.