When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid
Audre Lorde, Poet, Teacher and Activist, 1934-1992
About the Franklin Law Consultation
My name is Ron Franklin and I am the founder of Franklin Law. I want to take a moment to tell you about two types of consultations that we offer at Franklin Law. But before I do that, I think it is important for me to point out that a Franklin Law consultation is not for everyone and strongly encourage you to take a moment to read and reflect upon the information that follows before you decide whether or not to consult with us.
Generally speaking, employees and other workers seek out Franklin Law’s support, advice, and representation because they have been wronged, sincerely want to win, and need experienced, knowledgeable, and compassionate counsel to advise and represent them. Most of the employees who come to Franklin Law, retain us from the very beginning. Other employees turn to Franklin Law for advice and representation after demand letters written by other advocates go unanswered by employers or prove ineffective. Many workers come to us through referrals from other law firms and legal clinics. Other employees turn to us when other advocates tell them that their case is too complex or give up on their case because results are not forthcoming as quickly as they would like. This is the comfortable truth about the employees and other workers who consult with Franklin Law.
The uncomfortable truth is that many of the employees and other workers that I described above come to Franklin Law because they are afraid of making the wrong decision and afraid of representing themselves. They want someone else – a lawyer – to take charge of their fight, make the big decisions, and own their fears.
Employees are often surprised when I tell them that despite my years of legal training, my years of experience practicing as a lawyer, the number of cases that I have argued against reputable management-side lawyers, the lessons that I have learned from cases that have not gone well, and the confidence I have accumulated because of cases that my clients have won and/or settled, I still experience feelings of fear from time to time – sometimes intense feelings fear – when I represent employees and work with them to secure the justice that they deserve.
Despite the depictions of lawyers that we see on television, or the flattering adjectives that they use to describe themselves on their websites, a lot of other lawyers are scared too. Contrary to the images of bravado, machismo, and fearlessness typically associated with lawyers, I and many other lawyers are really no different than you. Why recognition of this reality is not more widespread is a question that I don’t claim to have all of the answers to, but in my opinion many lawyers clearly have a vested interest in not acknowledging their fear in front of would be clients like you, especially when you might hire them for a considerable fee.
In my view – whether you are a lawyer or an employee – there is nothing wrong with acknowledging your fears or any other emotion for that matter. In truth, it’s not at all surprising that you might be scared. If you’re thinking about hiring a lawyer, the stakes are probably pretty high. It may even be the first time that you are taking legal action against an employer. To you, it’s about more than mere dollars and cents. You are taking the time, making the effort and going through the expense of getting legal advice or taking legal action against your employer because it has done something to you that violated your sense of dignity, self-esteem or self-respect, or was an affront to your basic understanding of what is right and wrong in the workplace.
You’re probably afraid because in the back of your mind, you know that the employer has the resources to hire a professional with legal training – perhaps with more resources and legal experience than you – who will stop at nothing to thwart your efforts. You think about hiring a lawyer because you fear tells you that you need a lawyer to “level” the playing field.
If there is a down side to employees feeling afraid or vulnerable, I would say that it has to do with them choosing not to fight injustice at work or choosing not to speak truth to power because of fear, or with them hiring a lawyer who lulls them into a false sense of security by promising them the world and that everything will be okay.
For what it’s worth, I believe that almost any worker who intends to represent themselves or hire a lawyer should at least feel a little bit of fear, and in most situations, a whole bunch of fear. And if you don’t, you might want to ask yourself why that’s the case, and if you really understand how the legal system operates (i.e., typically not in workers’ favour) and what risks are involved. The fact is that deciding to take legal action against an employer is a very serious decision with real risks and consequences.
But we also know that fear is only one part of a much larger picture. The mere fact that you’re on this website suggests that you know that you have been or are going to be exploited in some way and you’re not content with the idea of your employer getting away with it. You have recognized or are beginning to recognize your own agency.
Though the anger or righteous indignation that you feel can counter balance your fear and be incredibly empowering, like fear they can also have a disastrous effect on your ability to decide whether to fight injustice at work, represent yourself or hire a lawyer in an objective and informed manner. I have met with many employees who, in the heat of the moment, have charged forward with their case, only to realize later on that there was another lawyer or another option that could have served them better, or that they should not have initiated a legal proceeding against their employer for one reason or another.
The point that I am trying to make is that if you are deciding whether or not to take legal action, whether or not to represent yourself, or whether or not to hire a lawyer blinded by fear, by anger or by both, then you are probably not going to make the most objective and informed decision that you can make about whether or not to proceed, who you want in your corner, and what proceeding could or should look like.
Many think that lawyers are at their best when they are dispassionate about their cases and remain emotionally detached from the clients that they represent. That has never been our philosophy at Franklin Law. We practice what we preach, and I and the other lawyers at Franklin Law have given up on trying to rid ourselves of fear, anger, and other emotions when we advise, represent and support employees and other workers.
In my experience, fear, anger, and other seemingly problematic emotions are not feelings that you can rid yourself of, hide from, or even get someone else to own. They are emotions that almost every worker who has to decide whether or not to proceed with legal action, represent themselves, or hire a lawyer, will at some point have to come face to face with. They are emotions that every lawyer who chooses to advise, represent, and support employees and other workers should have experienced themselves. Most importantly, they are emotions that employees and the lawyers that represent them need to face head on, understand, and embrace in order to make an informed decision and follow through with a plan of action with a high level of clarity, understanding, and confidence.
This brings me back to where we started. Ultimately, a Franklin Law Consultation is about three things. It is about providing employees like you with a safe, accessible and cost-effective space to acknowledge, embrace, and harness your fears, anger and other emotions, it is about helping employees like you to get timely and objective legal advice and practical options about the injustices that you face at work, and it is about helping employees like you to take the first step in the daunting yet empowering process of fighting injustice at work and speaking truth to power in the most informed way possible.
The Franklin Law consultation is an incredibly involved process. Our consultations are not designed to provide employees with answers about their case after spending five minutes with us on the phone, and, except in cases where accommodation is necessary, we are reluctant to consult with clients who are unwilling to meet in person or unwilling to take the time to sit down with us and discuss their experience in detail from start to finish. Because of this approach, Franklin Law does not meet with every employee who contacts us and does not offer free consultations. Although we are selective about the employees and other workers who we work with, access to justice is incredibly important to Franklin Law and remains a cornerstone of our firm. And because we want to make our services accessible to as many workers as we can, we offer two types of consultations at incredibly reasonable flat rates – consultations through Franklin Law’s Consultation Clinic and though Traditional Franklin Law Consultations.
Franklin Law’s Consultation Clinic
Franklin Law’s Consultation Clinic is held on Mondays and Thursdays. It was designed to promote access to justice by offering a lower cost alternative to Franklin Law’s Traditional Consultation and is based on a model of legal advice and support similar to that offered in legal clinics run by law schools. During the Consultation Clinic, you will meet with a lawyer who listen to you, go over your case with you, and take detailed notes. The lawyer will not provide you with legal advice right away but will discuss your case with me or another senior lawyer at Franklin Law and then get back to you with legal advice, and an overview of legal and practical options that may be available to you, within two business days of the initial meeting. For example, an employee who consults with a lawyer on Monday will receive legal advice by Wednesday at the very latest, and an employee who consults with a lawyer on Thursday will receive legal advice by the following Monday at the very latest. During the Consultation Clinic, we charge a flat fee of $150.00 for a consultation lasting up to one hour (i.e., 132.74), which is $100.00 less than the flat fee for our Traditional Consultation.
Franklin Law’s Traditional Consultation
Traditional Franklin Law Consultations are typically held on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Designed to promote access to justice and deliver practical legal advice in extremely time sensitive situations, these consultations are designed to allow employees like you to meet with me or another senior lawyer at Franklin Law and obtain legal advice, and an overview of the legal and practical options that are available to you, on the same day. For a Traditional Consultation with a senior lawyer at Franklin Law, we charge a flat fee of $250.00 for a consultation lasting up to one hour (i.e., $221.24 plus HST).
Booking a Franklin Law Consultation
You can request either type of consultation with one of Franklin Law’s employment, human rights, or labour lawyers by clicking here, by calling our office at (416) 572-8525, or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note as well that when you contact Franklin Law through our website or by leaving an e-mail or voice mail message, you are not retaining Franklin Law.
When we receive your message, we will call or email you as soon as possible (typically within 24 hours), and then take a few minutes to talk to you about booking a consultation and what you can expect. We will also ask you a few questions to determine whether or not there are any issues that might limit our ability to provide you with advice and/or represent you. Please note that we only provide legal advice after we have received a detailed overview of your situation and have a solid understanding of your fears, concerns, needs, and desired outcomes. After a Franklin Law Consultation, you will understand the legal options that are available to you and have all of the information that you need to make an informed decision about your next move, whether that means taking no further action, taking steps to pursue redress on your own, or retaining Franklin Law to help you to fight injustice at work.
Thank you for taking the time to learn about Franklin Law’s approach to consultations and the two types of consultations that we offer. We look forward to hearing from you and working with you in the near future.