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Information for Lawyers

Empanelment Process

FAQ for lawyers interested in certificate work with Legal Aid Ontario

Listed below are some of the more commonly asked questions received from lawyers interested in doing legal aid work. If you require more information or have a question not covered below, please feel free to contact us.

Last updated: May 28 /07

  1. How do I find out more about empanelment and obtain forms?

    Contact your local district office for information about how to get on Legal Aid Ontario's panel. All empanelment forms and panel standards are on the website.

  2. What forms do I need to complete to enroll with Legal Aid Ontario?

    Lawyers who are new to Legal Aid Ontario and do not have a legal aid solicitor number need to:

  3. How long will it take to get my solicitor number?

    A solicitor number is granted based on panel approval as well as validation by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC). It can take 3-6 weeks once all the applicable forms have been submitted. When approved, Legal Aid Ontario's Lawyer Service Centre will send a confirmation letter with a solicitor number, password and information about online billing.

  4. Can I do work on a certificate before I receive a solicitor number?

    No. If you work on a certificate before being added to Legal Aid Ontario's panel, your work may be covered only if the application is successful. If you want to start working on an urgent legal matter prior to receiving approval, contact your local area office.

  5. Can I bill for work completed as an agent before I receive my solicitor number?

    No. Once you receive a solicitor number, the lawyer who acknowledged the certificate can bill Legal Aid Ontario for your services as an agent. Any work done by an agent must be billed by the acknowledging lawyer.

  6. My client's certificate has expired and I still don't have a solicitor number. What should I do?

    Contact your local area office as it may be possible to reactivate the certificate. The area office can also provide status information about your panel application.

  7. Can I submit an opinion letter if I don't have a solicitor number?

    In an emergency situation, contact the area office that issued the certificate to discuss submitting an opinion letter prior to receipt of your solicitor number.

  8. If I would like to work in other areas of the province, what do I need?

    Once approved to be on a panel, a lawyer can do certificate work anywhere in Ontario, however travel may not be approved by the area director. To be placed on a referral list for another location, contact the local area office to request permission. You do not need to be on a local referral list to accept certificates in an area.

  9. How long does it take to receive panel approval for a specific area of law?

    Once the enrollment process is complete and the panel application approved, the area director will send a confirmation letter indicating your approval.

  10. What else do I need to know about applying to be on a special panel?

    There are a few panels that require special training and/or qualifications. Local conditions may apply. To be entered on the Collaborative Family Law panel, please submit an application for the family certificate panel. Also, please include a letter outlining your applicable training and experience in collaborative law. Similarly for the O'Connor-Mills panel, please include a letter outlining your relevant experience with this type of specialized application. Legal Aid Ontario may require additional training for this panel.