Alberta Lawyers Set to Launch New Project Promoting Limited Scope Legal Services
January 25, 2017
BY Valerie Le Blanc
In March 2017, a team of Alberta lawyers, in partnership with the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, will launch The Alberta Limited Legal Services Project. Funded by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the aim of the 18-month project is to research and report on the impact of lawyers providing limited scope legal services (or limited scope retainers) on access to justice. The project proposes that by helping lawyers provide limited legal services to their clients, this will enhance the affordability of, and access to, legal services for people who otherwise cannot afford to hire a lawyer under the traditional full-scope retainer model. The use of limited-scope legal services as a method of financing legal services is of interest to BCLI’s ongoing Financing Litigation Legal Research Project.
The research methodology for the project involves recruiting Alberta lawyers who agree to provide legal services under a limited scope retainer, using either an hourly rate or flat fee model. Participant lawyers will be provided with training on the project, as well as access to helpful resources and tools to assist them to both develop, and continue, offering this service. Over the 18-month period (March 2017 to September 2018), both participating lawyers and their clients will be surveyed to answer some of the following research questions on:
- The level of satisfaction with limited legal services for both the lawyer and client;
- The level of assistance limited legal services provides; and
- The impact of limited legal services on a client’s ability to resolve their legal issues.
The lawyer surveys will take place every six months to obtain ongoing feedback on the use of limited scope legal services in their practice. To improve access to clients seeking limited scope services, the project will maintain a list of the participating lawyers, including areas of practice and services they offer, as well as a page guiding clients through the process of both contacting and hiring a lawyer for this purpose. The list of lawyers will also be provided to other public legal agencies, including the The National Self-Represented Litigants Project, for use in its database of lawyers across Canada offering similar services to self-represented litigants.
The research gathered will be used to publish a report on the results in early 2019.
For more information, visit the project website or review the recent article on its launch.