Many people are now choosing to represent themselves in court, but they may lack confidence or have difficulty knowing where to start.

You have a right to be self-represented in your legal matter.  Most people are better educated now than they were 30 years ago.  Tools like the internet can really prepare you for self-representation.  However, there are limitations.  Think of it like working on your car.  You can quickly pick up the skills to change the oil, but would put yourself in serious danger if you decided to re-do the brakes.  This is where legal coaching comes in.

What Legal Coaches do:

Legal Coaches are lawyers who work with  self-represented clients to provide them with the specialist knowledge they need on demand.  A coach can provide direction, explain rules and procedure, and be available when those tricky questions arise.  A Legal Coach can help you from task to task, from providing you with advice on an ongoing negotiation or mediation, or help you draft your court applications, Financial Statement or Affidavits.  A Legal Coach can also help you prepare for a Judicial Case Conference, or attend a Judicial Case Conference with you.

Legal coaching is new in Canada, and only offered by a limited number of lawyers.  However, it provides the self-represented with a resource to plan and execute their case without the expense of a full service lawyer.  In most cases, Legal Coaches charge you only for the services you need.

A key advantage of using a Legal Coach is that they can keep you on track.  They will help you develop your own advocacy skills.  Prepare research and case law.  They will ensure that you comply with the dreaded Rules of Court.  They can be accessible by phone and email.  In short, they are there to help you if you stumble.

What Legal Coaches charge:

Legal coaches charge between $400 and $500 per hour.  You buy their time in 15 minute blocks.  If you will be needing service coverage for a few months, most legal coaches will offer packages which are discounted by 10-20 percent.

Legal coaches are a “pay as you go” service.  This means no large up front cost.  You buy an hour of their time and when that is used up, you have the choice of buying a further hour.  You do not have to fear a nasty bill at the end of the month.  You can also cancel any time if you feel the service is not right for you.

Legal coaches are not for everyone, but if you are self-represented, it is something to consider.


Michael Butterfield

Lawyer, Mediator

Arbitrator and Parenting Coordinator