Information for lawyers
Lawyer Workforce Strategy
Overview of the Lawyer Workforce Strategy
The Lawyer Workforce Strategy is Legal Aid Ontario’s (LAO’s) corporate talent management initiative. LAO developed this initiative to help recruit, develop and retain lawyers at LAO. It is open to summer students, articling students, in-house lawyers and new hires.
Designed to create a dynamic, responsive, and flexible legal team that can ensure high-quality client services across the province, the Lawyer Workforce Strategy provides rewarding and challenging careers for lawyers at LAO.
Its key features:
- Career development through rotations and training (lawyers hired through this initiative are expected to relocate for rotation opportunities; LAO support is available for moving)
- Diverse range of professional opportunities
- Ongoing professional development training and coaching
More than just a job
This initiative exposes summer students, articling students and lawyers to different parts of Ontario and to many different types of legal work.
This diverse experience helps them better understand the inter-connections between and among many areas of law, and gain first-hand knowledge of how the legal aid system works as a whole.
As a result, our summer and articling students can become lawyers equipped to serve clients holistically, and our staff lawyers enjoy the opportunity to learn and grow.
How it works
Summer and articling students are assigned their entry locations when they get the job.
Lawyers who are accepted can expect an initial rotation to last from one to three years. Their subsequent rotations will depend on the needs of the organization, their interests and their career paths. Once lawyers gain a foundation in LAO’s core areas of law and services, they can apply for specialist or management positions that do not usually involve rotations.
To date, LAO lawyers have accepted LWS rotation opportunities in locations such as Brampton, Cobourg, the GTA, Kapuskasing, Walkerton, Peterborough, Brantford, London, Chatham, Goderich, Sudbury, Milton, Barrie/Muskoka, Ottawa and Hawkesbury.
Available opportunities vary. Examples of rotation types include:
- Duty counsel: Provide advice and representation for parties without their own lawyers, in family and criminal court.
- LAO LAW: Provide case-specific research for certificate lawyers, maintain databases of legal memoranda, and write topical newsletters in family and criminal law.
- Clinic Resource Office: Deliver research and litigation support to community legal clinics.
- Policy: Work with this LAO department to assist the organization in its strategic planning.
- Family Law Office and Family Law Service Centres: Provide a variety of services to LAO’s family law clients, including full representation.
- Criminal Law Office: Provide full representation to LAO’s criminal law clients.
- Refugee Law Office: Full representation for LAO’s immigration and refugee clients is available at this Toronto office.
- General Counsel Office: Work with LAO’s in-house legal department to provide counsel and representation to LAO as an organization.
- Summary legal advice: Deliver summary legal advice, primarily over the telephone, to clients across the province.
- Special projects: Recent examples include a duty counsel training initiative, and a panel management initiative.
Who can apply
LAO staff seeks students from Ontario’s six law schools with the skills and commitment to serve low-income Ontarians. Proficiency in French and other languages, knowledge of Aboriginal issues and strong academic achievement are also important assets.
Because French is the first language of many LAO clients, our staff visits McGill University and the Université de Moncton, seeking bilingual students. LAO also visits Dalhousie University and the University of Manitoba, looking for students keen to practice in Ontario and support our diverse clients.
Formal interviews in the fall narrow the field down to the most suitable candidates, pursuant to the schedule and other requirements set out by the Law Society of Upper Canada.
Visit our careers page for more information on LAO’s requirements for applying to this program.
LAO periodically issues a general call for applications online, and fills positions from that applicant pool. Interviews typically consist of a small hiring panel comprised of staff from various departments, asking a series of questions:
- interests and skills;
- knowledge of what LAO does and how legal aid work fits into the justice system as a whole.
You can also send your application to Human Resources at email@example.com