table talk

I worked as a secretary for a lawyer, and I remember one Friday afternoon, he came to my desk and asked,  “why does no one call me just to say hi! I'm a nice guy. They always wait until there’s a problem that can’t be fixed .. and on a Friday at 5.”

I loved working for that lawyer. He was smart, successful, and great fun. I know I, or anyone else who had worked for him, could call him with an issue, and he would help in a heartbeat; but as life will have it, sometimes time creates a divide and you feel awkward calling a friend, or a former boss, out of the blue, just to ask a simple question – or worse, you have a legal problem and you need help, and fast.

Last Fall, I was introduced to a company, Legal Shield. Yes, the one that used to be known as Prepaid Legal. This company has been around for 42 years in the States – how’s that for a great track record. Have they had their issues – no doubt! You can’t be that successful and not have a broken a few eggs!

So their backbone is that they empower the average person, one who can’t likely afford an ongoing retainer of a large law firm. They do so by allowing a member (which costs less than your daily cup of coffee – even McDonalds!) to call an unlimited number of times to ask any question bordering on, or exactly, a legal question.

If it turns out to be a bigger issue than just vetting information over the phone from the lawyer, you can retain them; however, the idea is that most question-and-answer phone calls will supply enough information, empowering the person to act – or not act - in their best interest. And you can have them look over a simple document, send out a simple letter, and you also have them fix your credit rating back to its original state – in case of identify theft. You can have your wills done for free in the first 30 days of your membership. Think about it. Is your will up to date?. Had any new kids? Any new grandkids in the picture? Do you have a will? Do you know what the current laws are? This is your chance!

The average person usually just needs a little help. But for the average person, a $300 bill from a lawyer, is simply not in the budget. So we take uncalculated risks, enter into agreements, try to resolve issues, and hope that we don’t end up having to call a lawyer at 5pm on a Friday afternoon with a pressing issue.

I signed up as a member of Legal Shield last Fall, and I’ve used it a couple of times - it saved me from purchasing a home and thus entering into a quagmire of issues which we hadn’t considered; another call saved me from purchasing a business after getting advice on the commercial arena, of which I had no experience; and generally my membership in Legal Shield has caused me to be more cautious on a number of other issues, knowing that if need be, I can pick up the phone and call before proceeding.

I like to think of it as my personal insurance, to go along with my car insurance, house insurance, and of course my CAA, which thankfully I haven’t had to use.

My son is about four years away from driving age, when a call may come in from him that he has been stopped by the police and he doesn’t know why; or, in this tech-savvy world, I wonder what other issues might crop up in the future – something he’s purchased online and not received the goods for, or given his or, heaven forbid, our credit card number – any of these issues, for which a phone call to a lawyer, will set us straight or at least point us in the right direction.

Please if you have teens, pre-teens, consider this nominal monthly fee as your peace of mind. There are at least 100 reasons why you might want to “chat” for an hour with a lawyer. Wouldn’t you rather pay $300 a year, instead of $300 per hour.

And don’t get me wrong.  I made an earlier career out of working for hardworking lawyers, whose $300 per hour doesn’t mean they take home $300 per hour. There are many necessary business expenses that necessitate a large hourly fee to pay. And there may be times when you need more than a phone call and you can decide to retain their lawyer, or a lawyer of your choice. But for those needling questions where you’re not sure whether or not you need a lawyer, thereby not wanting to call in the favour of a lawyer friend, give Legal Shield the consideration it deserves.

I can give you 100 reasons to consider becoming a member of Legal Shield, but find out for yourself. Visit If you want those 100 reasons, email me at and I’ll send you the list. No obligation, no sales talk, just the list, and you can decide for yourself whether it’s worth it.

Posted 176 weeks ago

Worlds collide

Today I turned 55 and I thought it was time to share some thoughts. Yes, shocking for those who know me. But shocking for me too – my world collided with my target client market. To explain, I was out recently with a friend of mine, and she graciously suggested a few senior drop-in centres as targets for clients for my personal chef business. I checked out one of the websites and thought to myself, “awwww, that’s so nice – they have so many activities for the seniors”. Then – the shocker! I realized that the entry for the program starts at age 55. That’s me. I could virtually go swimming in above tropical water temperatures. Or I could have someone pick me up each week to do my groceries. Ironically, I’ve just recently updated my business model  to be more accessible, valuable and affordable to seniors and part of that is picking up a client’s weekly groceries while doing my “pre-cook” grocery run. I must be on the right track because there is certainly a need for such a service – but at 55? Reality check, please! Or share your similar experience.

Fun aside, if you know of a senior living at home that could use some company, a few outings, a weekly outing to the grocery store, there are many community centres, at least in the GTA, offering drop-ins for seniors. Here are a few that I, having come of age, know a little about. I’d invite you to share any others that you know about.

City of Toronto has proposed free drop-in programs at various locations throughout Toronto:

Posted 179 weeks ago

New recipes ... new traditions?

Posted by Cerys McLellan on Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Okay, I love food and I like to  think I keep healthy, but I'm not exactly a health food guru, and I think I stay healthy because of the exercise, not the food. Everything in moderation. Except cheese and chips! However, a few things have come to light lately, that makes me feel there is a quantum shift at play. The FIRST- Natrel Organic 1% milk - it tastes like milk should - amazing. I'm definitely willing to "up" the milk budget for that one. SECOND, was an introduction to Donate Naturally,...
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My name is Cerys and I am a foodie!

Posted by Cerys McLellan on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hardly a confession. Anyone who has known me for years or even a minute, knows that I am a foodie. My eyes light up as soon as the conversation turns to food or kitchen gadgets - and most conversations inevitably end up there, especially if I have anything to do with it. I'm definitely a people person too. Love to meet new people, and cherish the friends and family I have and the time I get to share with them. So why start the blog? Why not! Stay tuned.

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