The qualities you should look for in an employment lawyer and how to find one

Our jobs are a huge part of our lives; they provide a salary, allow us to support our families and enjoy life. Our jobs are a huge part of our lives; they pay for us to live, support our families, and fund our livelihoods. When you lose your job, face discrimination in the workplace, or have your employee rights violated – it can be devastating. Finding and working with a qualified, experienced, and reputable employment lawyer can help ensure you receive the compensation and justice you deserve. Once you know that it’s time to hire an employment lawyer, the actual process of finding one can be very intimidating. There are many lawyers to choose from; knowing what qualities to look for and where to look can take a lot of stress away from the process.

How to find an employment lawyer in Ottawa

The first step to finding the best employment lawyer is to find one in general. It’s always good to meet with a couple of different lawyers so that you can choose the one who’s best suited to handle your case. Before you start your search, you should be clear on what you’re looking for and what expectations you have. Do you prefer a lawyer who works remotely or one you can meet with in person? How frequently would you like to be in contact with your lawyer? What is your preferred method of communication? Do you need a bilingual lawyer? Can you travel to your lawyer’s office, or will you need someone close by? Knowing your needs will help narrow down your search significantly and help you form a list of questions to ask your lawyer when you consult with them.

Ask friends, family, and coworkers

The best way to find a reputable employment lawyer is to ask the people you trust the most. Close friends, family members, and coworkers may know or have worked with an experienced employment lawyer. Use your network to your advantage to get some solid referrals. If you’ve worked with other lawyers in the past (real estate lawyers, personal injury lawyers etc.), you could also reach out to them. You can ask them to refer you to an employment lawyer they may be familiar with or recommend.

Do online research

The world wide web is one of the most valuable research tools at our disposal. Take your time researching online and look beyond the first page of results. Many employment lawyers and firms will pay top dollar to have their ads and websites on the first page of Google – just because they’re on the first page doesn’t mean they’re the best. Look through reviews, check out their online presence, and consult your list of needs and expectations. Once you find two or three lawyers who check all of your boxes and have good reviews, you can start to reach out to them and inquire about consultations.

Qualities of a great employment lawyer

So, you’ve set up some consultations with prospective employment lawyers – what now? There are a lot of high-quality lawyers out there, but it’s not uncommon to run into a few bad apples. When you’re meeting with lawyers, there are some common qualities to look for that’ll indicate that they’re great at their jobs and will very likely be a good fit for your case.

Specializes in employment law

Finding a lawyer that specializes in employment law is crucial. Many lawyers are familiar with multiple areas of the law and will offer their services to anyone who needs them. These lawyers aren’t necessarily ‘bad’ lawyers, but they may not have as much experience in employment law as someone who specializes in it exclusively. A lawyer that specializes in employment law will know the ins and outs of everything, including constructive dismissals, drug testing, employee benefits, disability accommodation, and more. They know what works and what doesn’t better than anyone, and they’ll have more overall hours of experience and gain the expertise to contribute.

Supportive and empathetic

When dealing with workplace disputes and conflicts, you’re already stressed and overwhelmed. Your employment lawyer should be sensitive to your needs and understand the importance of your employment and how your ongoing situation affects your life. Their job is to create a compelling legal argument based on your story. They won’t be capable of doing that if they lack empathy.

They are willing and eager to answer your questions

It’s entirely normal for you to have questions about the law, your rights, and how your lawyer can help you. A great employment lawyer will be eager to answer any questions you may have and address concerns that may arise. A lawyer that brushes you off, avoids answering your questions or makes you feel uncomfortable about expressing your concerns is probably not the best lawyer for you.

Good communication skills

Laws and legislation are incredibly complex and challenging for the average person to understand. Your employment lawyer should be able to explain things to you in a way that’s easy for you to understand. You should never feel as though you’re ‘out-of-the-loop’ or confused about what’s happening with your case. It’s their job to help you understand your rights, provide informed instructions, and explain the process and steps involved in your case.


Good employment lawyers will always work as hard as possible to get you the best outcome possible. However, success is never guaranteed, and any lawyer that promises you a specific result is not being honest with you. A great lawyer will be upfront with you about your odds of success, risks, and costs associated with your specific case and the result you desire. They should always provide you with realistic advice and all the necessary information you need to make informed decisions.

At the end of the day, you’ll be working very closely with the employment lawyer or firm you choose to represent you. You need to trust them to advocate for you and represent your best interests at all times. Positive and mutually-beneficial client-attorney relationships are instrumental in successful cases. Take your time and choose a lawyer with whom you have the best rapport and who makes you feel the most comfortable and confident.

author avatar
Daniel Badre Founder, Partner
Daniel Badre is a distinguished personal injury lawyer based in Ottawa, renowned for his unwavering commitment to justice and advocacy for those who have suffered from accidents or negligence. With a legal career spanning over two decades, Badre has established himself as a compassionate and tenacious advocate for his clients.
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