Are you a Family Lawyer? Do You Have Ideas About Legal Coaching? Fill out our Lawyer Survey Today!

Are you a Family Lawyer? Do You Have Ideas About Legal Coaching? Fill out our Lawyer Survey Today!

As we reported in our last newsletter, the NSRLP has embarked on a major project involving “legal coaching,” another form of unbundled legal service delivery we believe responds to the needs (and budgets) of self-represented litigants. Legal coaching is a form of unbundling that envisions an ongoing relationship between the lawyer and the client from the start of the file, empowers clients to take the next step in their litigation on their own, and provides them with more control over their matter by assuming a partnership with their lawyer.

NSRLP Research Fellow Nikki Gershbain has been meeting with lawyers, self-represented litigants and other justice sector stakeholders to secure feedback on this innovative model. Nikki’s preliminary research reinforces our belief that legal coaching is the next logical step in the unbundling model. Legal coaching has the potential to make the justice system more accessible to people who cannot afford full representation, but who can purchase some legal services, particularly in family law, where we are piloting this program.

We need your input!

Nikki has created a survey for family lawyers, which you can access here. Whether you have or have not delivered unbundled or coaching services in the past, we’d like to hear from you about the challenges and possibilities of this model. Your feedback will inform the development of a training program for family lawyers interested in building a coaching practice, which is a specialized and challenging area of practice.

Justice Annemarie Bonkalo’s Report on Family Legal Services in Ontario

Last week, the former chief justice of the Ontario provincial court, Annemarie Bonkalo, reinforced support for legal coaching in her report on the provision of family legal services in Ontario. Justice Bonkalo has recommended that the legal profession “support the development of legal coaching and offer continuing legal education opportunities to ensure lawyers are equipped to offer these services.” She goes on: “Lawyers should be encouraged to take these training programs, and to offer and advertise coaching services. The Law Society of Upper Canada and LawPRO should consider providing incentives for lawyers to make legal coaching an integral part of their practice.”

We could not agree more! We are thrilled that Justice Bonkalo has formally recognized this new and important form of legal service delivery. Her report, which also includes key recommendations relating to unbundling, paralegal practice and law students, can be found here. If you have feedback on her recommendations, please send your comments by email to commentsflsr@lsuc.on.ca by 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2017.

We Want to Hear From Litigants Too!

We want to hear from all stakeholders in the system, including litigants. Whether you are representing or have represented yourself in a legal matter, have benefited from unbundled legal services or legal coaching, or had a lawyer for your matter but have ideas about coaching, we are looking for your input.

Be on the lookout for our next newsletter, which will include a link to our legal coaching questionnaire for self-represented litigants.

Feedback?

If you have any questions or comments about this project, please contact Nikki at nikki.gershbain@utoronto.ca.

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