Canada’s New Direct-to-Consumer Online Legal Service

FiredWithoutalause logoA sign of the times: for those who have been let go at work but feel too intimidated by the potential cost of a lawyer to seek legal assistance, comes the new service FiredWithoutCause to fill the gap. Have a read through the description below. I’m curious to hear from lawyers in the audience whether you see this type of service complementing or competing with your work?

From FWC’s social media press release (SMPR) from July 10, 2009: is a confidential online service that helps people understand their legal rights and maximize their severance package. The service provides:

  • free tutorial on the law governing layoffs, firings, and dismissals;
  • manual outlining the negotiation model most commonly taught to lawyers and other negotiation experts;
  • severance package calculator which analyzes thousands of Canadian court cases to provide an assessment of entitlements;
  • detailed report on how an individual’s case compares to similar cases; and,
  • customized counter-offer letter templates Canadians can use to negotiate with an employer.

While the site offers basic information about employment law for free, individuals wishing to use the severance package calculator pay a fee of $39.99 and can purchase a customized counter-offer letter for an additional $19.99. In comparison, the average fee charged by a Canadian employment lawyer to advise on severance pay and provide a counter-offer letter is $1,705.

If a person earning the average annual income in Canada used to increase their severance package by just one week, they would earn $687 – 10 times the cost of services.

The service was created by Paradigm Shift Solutions Inc. out of Vancouver, formed by Chilwin Cheng, LLB and Jim Hamlin, a software development expert. The SMPR goes on to explain:

The online resource, which has been in development for more than two years, draws on a database of thousands of cases assembled by lawyers and paralegals, covering all aspects of employment law. The company’s proprietary indexing technology selects cases that best fit a customer’s unique situation, mirroring the reasoning and research process that Canadian employment lawyers use, and creates a customized counter-offer letter an individual can use when negotiating with their former employer.

The video explaining the service is below the jump:

They have also created the FWC Blog in association with the service, although recent blog posts focus primarily on their recent media coverage. Hopefully once they settle in they will blog a bit more about this area of law and their other related experiences.

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