Coaching, Brokering – Helping More People Get Legal Services

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Coaching self-represented litigants and brokering services for under-served Ontarians are among the innovative ideas in a report tabled today to Convocation.

The Report on Next Steps on the Law Society’s Access to Justice Initiative for the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) was presented June 26.

Among the updates, the report notes that 326,000 copies of the Law Society’s “Handling Everyday Legal Problems” public information guide had been distributed as of June 4.

The progress report on the TAG Initiative, and the TAG Resource Centre, includes ideas for next steps:

    • Generate an access to justice fund from lawyer and paralegal fees and increased court filing fees

    • Raise legal aid eligibility rates for criminal or family justice system

    • Provide front end and back end debt relief to law students

    • Providing “coaching” to self-represented litigants to enable them to move forward on their own

    • Set up a “legal brokerage” assisting family law litigants to get legal advice from lawyers at a reduced fee

    • Replicate the American Bar Association’s “incubator” initiative providing mentoring, office and business support, financial assistance to lawyers building a practice that serves otherwise underserved clients

TAG’s report to February Convocation states that the time has come for the Law Society to adopt “a more strategic and holistic approach to access to justice issues” and that the proposals offer “a path to proceed forward in a focused and supported way” to fulfill the LSUC mandate.

Resources were unveiled at a June 3 event. They include material to help licensees present legal information to the public.

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