In response to growing public demand, the Law Society expanded its referral service last year to include paralegals.
The service is featured at the Law Society’s website and people can obtain referrals online. It is promoted through mail-outs, advertising campaigns, and yellowpages.ca. Members on the service are referred on a rotational basis.
The Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) gives people with legal issues the name of a licensed paralegal. The person leaves a call-back number and waits up to three business days for a return call. Member paralegals provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes, to determine the potential client’s rights and options.
The LSRS advises callers that they can expect the paralegal to explain:
How the law applies to your situation
How to use the law to solve your legal problem
How long the legal work may take
How much the paralegal would charge to help you
Cathy Corsetti, Chair of the Paralegal Standing Committee, would like to see more paralegals make use of the successful referral service. “The service made $335,000 in six months for paralegal members,” she notes. “It more than pays for itself, but only 145 paralegals had signed up by the end of last year.”
Law Society statistics show that 13.1 per cent of consultations resulted in retainers, at an average of $1,760 per retainer. Small Claims, Landlord and Tenant Board (for both tenants and landlords), Highway Traffic Offences, employment issues and summary conviction offences were the most-common referral matters.
While the lion’s share of referrals are in the Greater Toronto Area, the service functions province-wide. In the London area, nine paralegals shared 121 referrals in the first six months the service was available to them.
The annual cost is $282.50, including tax.
How to join the Law Society Referral Service:
Call the Law Society:
416-947-3300 x 5000
Toll-free: 1-800-668-7380 x 5000