Information for Clients
How to Prepare
Preparing for your meeting with a lawyer will allow your issues to be explored more meaningfully, and will reduce your legal expenses. It may be helpful to prepare and bring a chronology of events as well as all key documents related to the matters. We also recommend contacting the lawyer in advance to discuss which documents may be helpful to determine the issues in your case.
Remember that the information that you provide a lawyer is privileged, meaning that it cannot be disclosed to anyone unless you consent.
What to Bring
Before agreeing to represent any client, we ensure that your interests are not in conflict with our existing clients. Please be prepared to provide the names of any opposing parties in your matter.
We are also required to verify the identity of our clients, and ask that you bring at least one piece of government issued identification containing a photograph.
Fees and Expenses
Your lawyer will discuss an arrangement for fees and expenses at your meeting, You will have an opportunity to discuss and consider our fees before deciding to retain our firm as your representation.
Covid-19 Policies and Procedures – Updated October 26, 2020
We are using the advice and guidance of our federal and provincial governments and health officials to help ensure a safe workplace and minimize the risks.
Employees Work Location
- Employees are required to work from the office most of the time. Some exceptions have been made. The office is a safe environment.
- In the event the employee is ill or has any illness symptoms (and therefore cannot attend the office due to our policy), but is only slightly symptomatic and wishes to work, their manager may allow them to Work From Home (WFH) so they do not have to use sick leave. It is at the sole discretion of the manager if the employee can WFH on any given day with the exception of those employees already working from home on specific days. WFH will only be approved if the manager decides that the employee is well enough to perform the work and put in a full day of effort.
Symptomatic People (Employees and Visitors)
- It is against our policy to permit any individual showing (or feeling) any illness symptoms whatsoever from entering our place of business.
- In the event an employee is ill or has any symptoms whatsoever, they must inform their manager and must not attend the office.
- Employees who have seasonal allergies must be accommodated and all people around them must be made aware that they suffer from allergies and they are closely self-monitoring. If you are an allergy sufferer, be proactive and make sure everyone you interact with (at a distance) knows “not to worry – it’s just my allergies”. Keep in mind that people may be anxious.
Social Distancing In the Office
All employees shall, when in the office, make all best efforts to maintain a distance of 2 meters from one another.
As employees conduct their work in the office and move between the entrance, their workstations, shared office equipment and amenities, and past others workstations, they are expected to maintain a 2 meter distance from one another.
Minimize time spent at others’ desks. However – sometimes it will be necessary. In the event you need to quickly visit someone else’s desk to discuss something, maintain a 2 meter distance if at all possible.
For quick meetings between employees which do not require face-to-face interactions, try simply to speak on the phone or email even when both of you are in the office.
Office Activities and Procedures:
- Shared Rooms:
- Occupancy limits have been posted for all boardrooms, kitchen and coffee bar. Note: When booking appointments one must ensure no back to back meetings in any one boardroom to allow time for proper sanitization.
- To minimize risk:
- Each participant should ensure their hands are clean before the meeting.
- Each participant should wash their hands after the meeting.
- The organizer of the meetings must quickly wipe down any high-touch shared surfaces before and after the meeting and ensure all items are removed (files, paper clips, post-it notes, stickies, etc.). This includes (for example) the table, chair grab surfaces (arms, seats and backrests), telephone buttons and receiver, whiteboard pens, light switches, door handles, etc. This is a precautionary clean only, not a deep sterilization, and it should only take a moment using one or two sanitizer wipes. If you minimize the number of things that people touch, there will be less to wipe down. Pens are to be disposed of or given to clients to keep.
- Clean-Desk Policy:
- All employees must keep a clean desk at all times. Do not allow any clutter to accumulate to ensure all surfaces can easily be wiped down by our cleaning crew.
- All client related documents must be stored in their files binders and stored on shelves or in filing cabinets.
- Kitchen and Food:
- Use disposable stir-sticks instead of spoons. If you do use a piece of cutlery, immediately place it in the dishwasher. Do not leave out spoons.
- Employees must clean out any personal food items from the fridge every Friday and the cleaning crew will be instructed on its regular cleaning and disposal of anything left over the weekend.
- Plastic containers must be taken home daily.
- When using the coffee maker, wipe down the shared surfaces after using it.
- Consider having your own identifiable mug, and other dish/cutlery you bring from home and take personal responsibility to keep them clean, at your desk. (Never leave dirty dishes anywhere but inside the dishwasher, and ensure your personal items if you choose to use them, are stored inside your desk cabinet.)
Social Distancing Outside the Office
When you are outside the office in court, at an examination for discovery, a bank, or other place of business on behalf of Lakes, Whyte LLP, always seek to minimize direct contact with others. Use technology whenever possible.
When attending to business outside the office, minimize the risks:
- Make sure you are aware of the meeting environment, and that participants understand Lakes, Whyte LLP’s general policies for keeping you safe. Check if the other parties have their own protocols and procedures in place. Follow the policies and err on the side of caution.
- As always, but especially important when interacting with others at other locations:
- Maintain 6’ (2 metres) distance whenever possible from all other people.
- Minimize anything that you touch with your hands. Use the tip of your key to touch elevator buttons for example.
- Do not touch your face. Most viral transmissions are contracted via touching one’s face.
- Once you are done with the meeting, as soon as possible, wash your hands or use sanitizer you should carry in your bag/car. Do this even if you do not recall touching anything with your hands.
- When you finally return to the office or your home wash your hands again.
Common Surfaces and Cleaning
There are a number of common surfaces in the office. Our cleaning crew is specifically directed to sanitize these surfaces during their regular routine cleaning.
However, during day-to-day use, employees should follow a procedure when touching any common surface. When touching these surfaces:
- Consider wiping down the surface occasionally (or before and after each use).
- Immediately after touching the surface, wash your hands.
Some common surfaces:
Front/rear door handles, washroom door knobs, drawer pulls, cabinet knobs, toilet flush handle.
- Photocopier and fax buttons and screens, other printer room shared supplies (staplers, hole punchers, etc.)
- Alarm panel,
- Toilets, faucets, soap dispensers
- Kitchen, faucets, dishwasher handle, coffee machine,
- Chairs, boardroom table, boardroom phone
- Anything in the library.
Receiving Parcels, Samples and Mail
- The receiver should place all received parcels on a surface that can be easily wiped down.
- The receiver should use disinfectant wipes if possible to wipe the outer surface of all parcels received before distributing to others.
- After distribution, remember to then wipe down the surface on which you placed the parcels and then immediately wash your hands thoroughly.
Visitors to Lakes, Whyte LLP Office
- Only two (2) people at a time to be in any of the elevators.
- Minimize the number of simultaneous visitors to the office. Consider if people who wish to visit the office have a real business need to do so. If not, consider alternatives using technology.
- Do not overlap visitors, even if different employees greet each party. Coordinate visitors daily to ensure only one visitor party at a time.
- All office visitors (who have an appointment) must be asked or observed as to whether they are feeling well and have no symptoms.
- A visitor sign-in sheet will be provided in the reception area. Visitors must sign-in.
- All office visitors must be immediately asked to use a supplied sanitizer which is located on the reception desk.