NSRLP Board Reviews 2016, Sets Ambitious Goals for 2017NSRLP
NSRLP’s Advisory Board assembled in Windsor two weeks ago to review our work during 2016 (see the NSRLP Year in Review: 2016), and set priorities for 2017. As always, our annual face-to-face meeting produced a stimulating and productive discussion.
There was a strong sense among Board members that many of NSRLP’s 2016 projects – for example, the National Database of Professionals Assisting SRLs, as well as ongoing law school projects educating the lawyers of tomorrow about the realities of the self-representation phenomenon – were starting to have a real impact. In looking ahead to 2017, the Board weighed priorities including: developing a database to monitor the emerging SRL jurisprudence; developing new SRL resources for persons with disabilities; expanding the National Database of Professionals Assisting SRLs; and applying for intervenor status at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Pintea v Johns case (to be heard in April 2017).
The Board also heard from Nikki Gershbain, the Executive Director of Pro Bono Students Canada, who will begin working with us in January 2017 as our Law Foundation of Ontario Community Fellow. Nikki will be spearheading a curriculum development project to train lawyers to work as “legal coaches” with the primarily self-represented. Nikki aims to take the coaching concept (which came directly from SRL comments throughout the National SRL Study), and turn it into tenets of “best practice” via training for lawyers who wish to offer this service to clients.
At the end of the Board meeting, Julie Macfarlane, NSRLP’s Director commented: “We’ve achieved more this last year than ever before. The NSRLP is in a place to make a difference now, more than ever.”