YouCounsel.ca: A New Service Model for SRLsNSRLP
Typical of the trend we are seeing towards the development of new service and delivery business models aimed at SRLs is You Counsel, the brainchild of Amer Mustaq, a Toronto employment and human rights lawyer at Formative LLP. Amer has recently launched an online course to help self-represented litigants make their way through the small claims court system. Amer says, “Over the last few years, I noticed that I was unable to help a lot of potential clients simply because of their inability to afford legal fees.”
You Counsel has been designed for self-represented litigants, especially those with no legal education background, with the goal of providing “comprehensive self-help guidance…in the most easy-to-follow terms”. It includes a curriculum of online lectures that guide claimants through the process and procedures of small claims courts. Topics include issuing a claim, defending a claim, and trial preparation. Lectures 3 and 7 in the series can be viewed free of charge as a sampling for those considering whether to enrol.
There is also an associated forum where self-represented litigants can share their experiences or pose questions and lawyers and paralegals are encouraged to participate and answer these questions. As a form of “legal open-sourcing” described by Richard Susskind (The End of Lawyers? Rethinking the Nature of Legal Services 2008), such a forum could provide assistance to SRLs by establishing a community that shares knowledge, experience and information.
Please view You Counsel at www.youcounsel.ca. Forum can be viewed at http://www.youcounselforums.ca/t/welcome-to-you-counsel-forums/8.