Tips for Your First Visit to the Clinic

At some point you may need assistance with a legal problem. At West End Legal Services, we try and make the visit as comfortable an experience as possible.

Your Initial Call: When you first call our office, you will speak to someone in our front office. You will be asked general questions about the problem you are having. These questions might include where you live, your name, phone number, and how you found out about our services. Because we are funded by Legal Aid Ontario, you will be asked about your family income. If we determine that you qualify financially and that we can help you with your problem there will be no cost for our services.

If we cannot help you because we do not deal with your area of law, there are referrals we can give you. We also have a large selection of pamphlets and other legal education material and we would be happy to send these to you. Some days the volume of calls we get is overwhelming. If you get our voice mail, please make sure to leave your name and telephone number so that we can return your call.

Your First Appointment: Depending on the complexity of the legal problem, one of our intake workers will either help you over the phone or will schedule an appointment for you to come to the clinic. If the issue involves housing or social assistance or is for a statutory declaration you will probably be asked to come in.

Bring any relevant papers and documents to your appointment. These could be court documents, letters, doctors’ names, addresses and a list of your medications. Be prepared to provide us with proof of your income by bringing cheque stubs or direct deposit notes from your bank book.

On the day of your first appointment you will be asked to complete an intake sheet. You will be asked general information about you and your family. Once this is completed, a caseworker will meet with you and discuss your matter in private. Any information you give us remains confidential.

If English or French is not your first language please try to arrange to bring a friend or relative to your appointment to assist with the interpretation. If you do not have an interpreter with you we may have to reschedule your appointment. If you do not have anyone to interpret for you let us know before your appointment is booked. We will see if we can make alternative arrangements for you.

We understand that our clients are coming to us with serious legal issues. Our goal is to make your first visit a comfortable and positive experience.