LAO Newsroom

LAO reduces lawyer payment delays

Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Lawyers with questions or concerns about their payments can contact the Lawyer Service Centre hotline (416-979-9934 locally, 1-866-979-9934 toll free) to inquire about the status of their account. LAO regrets the delays in payment lawyers are experiencing.

Please note: when calling from the Greater Toronto Area, you must dial (416)979-9934. The 1-866 number does not accept local calls.

Legal Aid Ontario’s Lawyer Services and Payments department successfully processed payment of more than a thousand accounts in exception, paying solicitors over $1.1 million on the weekend of August 21—22, 2010.

The majority of accounts (72 per cent) submitted by lawyers are within the tariff maximum, and are paid within 21 days. However, accounts submitted above the tariff maximum (28 per cent), require a manual exceptions process.

LAO has automated processes to pay accounts in exception over the tariff max when no discretion is requested. Lawyers can submit a request for retroactive discretion within 60 days if they choose to do so.

Lawyers are reminded to “tick’ the discretion box on their Legal Aid Online account if they would like the account considered for discretion. Failure to “tick” the discretion box will result in the account being “paid to max”, even if you have attached your dockets and a discretion letter.

Legal Aid Ontario is working hard to correct the backlog of payments to lawyers. Automated billing solutions, such as last weekend’s successful process, ensure that payments are processed quickly and efficiently.

LAO staff are currently working on discretion accounts received in May. The goal is to eliminate the backlog of overdue discretion accounts within the next 30 days.

Lawyer Service and Payments provides billing services to over 4,000 panel lawyers a year; settling over 215,000 accounts and answering 25,000 calls from solicitors.

Read more on how LAO is handling the backlog of accounts payable.