How many hours of legal work are involved in properly defending a domestic assault charge? The example I will use is where a client retains me the day after his arrest for a domestic assault allegation, through to the completion of his or her trial 12-18 months later. 

Well, you are going to be surprised at the answer. There is a lot of work involved in any criminal case. I am focusing on a domestic assault in this example. I find the average number of hours that our lawyers   work on a domestic assault case from start to finish, including all of the work that we do including extensive trial preparation, is probably about 40 to 50 hours for the average case.   Sometimes the work involved in defending a domestic assault matter could take considerably more than 50 hours depending on the case. I don’t think I have seen fewer than 40 hours on any domestic assault trial file at our firm over the years.  There is a lot of work involved in properly and carefully defending a domestic assault, just like for any criminal case. There are initial court appearances, extensive reviews and analysis of disclosure, meetings with the crown, meetings with the client, meetings with a judge and trial preparation, which takes many hours as well. Just preparing your client to testify alone, which they usually do in a domestic assault, take at least 5 or more hours. Some clients take longer depending on their personal motivation to prepare, verbal skill and intellect and whether the client is able to come across we well in our office by practicing as if they are in the courtroom testifying. We do mock cross examinations and mock examinations in-chief with them until they “get it” and so they know what to expect in court and how to testify properly in order to create a reasonable doubt. 

So, from start to finish I would say a reasonable estimate for a domestic assault case is 40 to 50 hours of detailed legal work and preparation and sometimes more if the case is even mildly complex.  Again, as I state in another video, as a criminal lawyer, I jokingly wish I could just show up in court and start talking off the cuff as many people think criminal lawyers do.  It doesn’t work that way. Winning a domestic assault case involves many hours of detailed preparation and dress rehearsals and carefully planning cross examinations and submissions to the judge. “The devil is in the details” and it takes many hours to effectively present a domestic assault defence or any criminal case for that matter. 

So that’s the short answer to the question regarding how many hours of legal work are involved in a typical domestic assault case.