If you want more legal aid contracts, the most important thing you can do is to ensure your profile in the Lawyer Portal is up to date.
LABC uses the following information when searching for counsel:
- Availability - if you do not want to take contracts for any time period, please indicate this in the availability section. As long as this section is unchecked you will not be able to accept new contracts, however, this will not affect your current contracts. We ask for a date range as a reference but your availability will not automatically update. Counsel must check the availability option once the timeframe is up to become available again.
- Areas of law - Your name will only come up on our contract search if you have that particular area of law selected.
- Lawyer Courts and Lawyer Court Levels - Intake uses these sections extensively to aid in lawyer search, the more up-to-date this information is the more Intake can tailor their search.
- Standard referrals - You will see an option to select "standard referrals" and/or "referrals for appeals" at least one of these must be checked for you to receive any representation contracts; in most cases, you should have "standard referrals" selected.
If you change firms, please ensure you still have a usable email address. Your LABC username may or may not be listed as your communication email. If you decide to no longer take legal aid, please let us know. This will save you from unwanted correspondence and save us time searching for counsel. If you have made any changes to your financial information, please ensure you complete a Form C.
Updating your profile can help, but if you still find you are not receiving the number or types of files that you want, feel free to contact our Intake department at firstname.lastname@example.org and/or contact your local office.
You can also let us know:
- What types of files you want: (this may be specific or simply an area of law); this is not guaranteed however it allows Intake to keep this in mind when searching for counsel.
- Limited contracts: when asking for contracts it is important to clarify what types of contracts you are willing to accept. We know that there are a number of lawyers who do not wish to take on CERCs and FLRCs and some who only want the limited contracts; please let us know so we can save time when searching.
- Changes to your situation: while updating your profile is imperative, if counsel is planning to make significant changes to their established practice (i.e. location or area of law) updating Intake can be beneficial.
- Travel: while we endeavor to provide clients with local counsel this is often not possible. In the event that we need to have non-local counsel travel to another location it is beneficial to know who is able and willing to do so. If you regularly travel to an area of the province that you would be able to take some files in, let us know. This is especially helpful for those willing to assist with family files.
It is also important to communicate with Intake when receiving a contract. Intake should provide you with the Court location and some basic details of the case when offering you a contract, in the event they do not, please clarify with Intake. If relevant, always confirm if travel is authorized. Many Intake workers outside of your local office may not be as aware of the local geography.
Intake has also put together a lawyer referral team to assign some of our harder-to-place files, which are often family files in need of travel. Counsel is encouraged to email email@example.com if they are seeking more contracts.
Lastly, keep in mind, when we send out contract offers, it is ideal for you to review the email even if you are unable to assist. When a client requests a specific counsel, it can cause delays if we cannot confirm with that counsel. Please be aware that in many cases in the interest of time, offers go to multiple lawyers at once. If you do not want these emails kindly mark yourself as unavailable.
We appreciate counsel's assistance as we continue to review and improve our lawyer search processes