Private bar roster review

Legal Aid BC (LABC) relies primarily on private bar lawyers to provide legal representation and advice to our clients throughout BC. We're currently experiencing challenges in attracting and retaining lawyers to do legal aid work in certain areas of law and geographic regions of the province.

The Lawyer Roster, Recruitment, and Retention Review is exploring and addressing these challenges, which impact our ability to secure legal services for clients in a timely way. The Review aims to provide us with clarity and a deeper knowledge of our lawyer roster and the quality of legal services delivered to our clients.

We strive to better understand our existing roster and ensure roster management leads to continued high-quality services and delivers key justice outcomes for our clients.

Objective, Approach, and Outcomes

Objective

The Review’s objective is to ensure access to justice for vulnerable legal aid clients in all areas of law and regions in BC through effective lawyer roster, recruitment, and retention management.

Strategic framework preview

The review supports LABC’s Strategic Goals, in particular:

  • Goal 1 — Better Outcomes for our Clients
  • Goal 3 — Collaborative Relationships
  • Goal 4 — Responsive Organization, focused on continuous improvement

See the full Strategic Framework.

Approach

The Review will focus on and capture the existing state of LABC’s lawyer roster, recruitment, and retention. It will also propose a future state with recommendations to improve:

  • organization design,
  • policies,
  • processes,
  • systems (IT),
  • accountability,
  • performance measures/reporting, and
  • service provider satisfaction.

The Review is limited to recommendations for future action, not implementation.

Tariff lawyer roster, recruitment, and retention diagram
* Value proposition refers to a standardized understanding of the value of working with LABC.

Outcomes

Desired outcomes of the Review include:

  • Deeper knowledge and understanding of LABC’s roster, recruitment, and retention challenges, with a focus on client access to private bar lawyers
  • Clear and actionable recommendations towards a future state
  • Engagement of LABC roster lawyers in collaborative solutions
  • Deepened relationship with LABC’s partners in the legal system

Advisory Committee

Purpose

The Lawyer Roster, Recruitment, and Retention Review Advisory Committee will provide feedback and advice to the Project Team on a monthly basis, based on members’ expertise, knowledge, and experience.

Areas of responsibility

The committee is responsible for:

  • Reviewing materials and providing input (e.g., survey questions, stakeholder registry, communications, situational assessments, etc.)
  • Identifying stakeholders who can contribute to the success of the Review
  • Suggesting approaches to ensure full engagement of stakeholders
  • Championing the Review and supporting change

Membership

The committee consists of:

  • Review Sponsor — Lawyer Services Manager Sherry Poirier
  • Review Project Lead —Lawyer Engagement Coordinator Denbigh Watertosh
  • Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (A.L.L.) Representatives and tariff lawyers (3) — family and criminal
  • LABC Staff (3) — client intake, family lawyer, criminal lawyer
Advisory Committee Members — October 2023
Sherry Poirier LABC Manager, Lawyer Services
Denbigh Watertosh LABC Coordinator, Lawyer Engagement
Shannon (Vancouver) LABC Intake Training/Online Applications Coordinator
Talia Magder Managing Lawyer, Criminal Law Services
Brian Dybwad Manager, Family Law Services
Andrea Turton, KC Tariff Lawyer, Private Practice
Richard Fowler, KC Tariff Lawyer, Director, Association of Legal Aid Lawyers (A.L.L.)
Michelle Silongan Tariff Lawyer, Director, A.L.L.

Consultations

LABC engaged in wide-ranging consultations throughout the review process in 2023 to better understand the roster, recruitment, and retention challenges we face. The consultations, led by consultant Jawad Kassab, included:

  • An LABC onsite visit to interview 14 LABC executives, managers, and staff (completed July 31 – August 3)
  • Preparation and circulation of a Lawyer Survey seeking input on roster, recruitment, and retention (completed October 20)
  • Interviews with articling students, former LABC roster lawyers, and other stakeholders (to be concluded by the end of December)
  • Creation and kick off of the Review Advisory Committee, consisting of private bar lawyers on the LABC roster and staff lawyers (completed September 21)

In addition to these formal channels, we're happy to hear from anyone interested in contributing to our roster, recruitment, and retention review. Contact information is provided below.

Status Updates

We’ll post summaries of status updates as they're available during the project stages. The project is divided into five stages:


A. Plan the Project (July – August 2023)


B. Assess the Current State (July – November 2023)


C. Propose the Future State (December 2023 – January 2024)


D. Develop and Present Draft Report (February 2024)


E. Finalize and Deliver Report (March 2024)

Surveys and Reports

Surveys

LABC, in consultation with the Review Advisory Committee, developed and circulated a Lawyer Survey focused on roster, recruitment, and retention feedback. The survey ran for two weeks and was completed on October 20, 2023. Survey results will inform the Review's recommendations.

Below you will find our preliminary survey highlights. All the data gathered from our survey will be further analyzed and contextualized in our final report

LABC Tariff Lawyer Survey Results — Highlights

Reports

Review reports are not available at this time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did LABC retain a consultant to review its lawyer roster, recruitment, and retention?

We rely primarily on private bar lawyers to provide legal representation and advice to clients throughout BC. The Lawyer Roster, Recruitment, and Retention Review will address the challenges that LABC is having attracting and retaining private bar lawyers to do legal aid work in certain areas of law and geographic regions. This challenge is impacting our ability to secure legal representation and advice for clients in a timely way. In addition, LABC lacks a clear and deep understanding of its lawyer roster and the quality of legal services delivered. We'd like to understand our existing roster better and ensure roster management leads to high-quality services and delivers key justice outcomes for clients.

The Review supports LABC’s Strategic Goals, in particular:

  • Goal 1— Better Outcomes for our Clients
  • Goal 3 — Collaborative Relationships
  • Goal 4 — Responsive Organization focused on continuous improvement
Will LABC consult with roster lawyers during the Review?

We engaged in wide-ranging consultation in 2023 to better understand the roster, recruitment, and retention challenges we face. The consultations, led by consultant Jawad Kassab, included:

  • An LABC onsite visit with interviews of 14 LABC executives, managers, and staff (completed July 31 – August 3).
  • Preparation and circulation of a Lawyer Survey seeking input on roster, recruitment, and retention (completed October 20).
  • Interviews with articling students, former LABC roster tariff lawyers, and other stakeholders (to be completed by the end of December).
  • Creation and kick off of the Review Advisory Committee, consisting of roster of private bar lawyers and staff lawyers (completed September 21).

In addition to these formal channels, we'd be happy to hear from anyone interested in contributing to the roster, recruitment, and retention review. Contact information is provided below.

What kind of changes can I expect from the Review?

The Review will focus on LABC’s lawyer roster, recruitment, and retention, capturing the existing state, and proposing recommendations for improvement. The review will not involve execution of these recommendations or other changes. Following the review, LABC will decide which recommendations to implement.

The recommendations made may include improvements to organization design, policies, processes, systems (IT), accountability, and performance measures/reporting.

Will private bar lawyers on the roster be kept informed as the Review progresses?

LABC will keep private bar lawyers on the roster informed on a regular basis through emails, website posts, and the Legal Aid Brief. Have questions or concerns? Contact Sherry Poirier, LABC Manager, Lawyer Services at lawyers.resources@legalaid.bc.ca

How long will the Review last?

The Review kicked off on July 18, 2023. It's scheduled to be completed by March 31, 2024.

Who do I contact if I have questions and would like more information?

If you have questions about the Lawyer Roster, Recruitment, and Retention Review, reach out to us at the email addresses listed in the Contact Us section below

Contact Us

If you have questions about the Lawyer Roster, Recruitment, and Retention Review, contact:

  • LABC at lawyers.resources@legalaid.bc.ca
  • Review consultant Jawad Kassab at kassabja@rogers.com