Law Society of BC’s Initiative: Alternate Legal Service Providers in Family Law

  • December 01, 2018

The Law Society is working on expanding the kinds of services that can be provided by non-lawyers to address unmet needs of the public. To protect the public interest, these “alternative legal service providers” will be credentialed and regulated by the Law Society of BC. Legislative amendments to the Legal Profession 
Act
 are necessary for the Society to create, credential and regulate new categories of non-lawyer legal service providers, and the Law Society of BC has requested such amendments from the provincial government.

In order to be prepared for legislative changes when they are enacted, the Benchers created the Alternative Legal Service Provider Working Group, with a focus on identifying the appropriate scope of practice that alternative legal service providers would be permitted to undertake in order to address unmet and underserved needs for legal services. The working group focused first on family law, as it is frequently identified as an area of need where the absence of skilled help can exacerbate the hardship families suffer.

On September 29, 2018, the CBABC welcomed Paula Littlewood, Executive Director of the Washington State Bar Association and Steve Crossland, Chair, Limited License Legal Technician Board to the CBABC Provincial Council Meeting. In relation to the LSBC’s Initiative on Alternate Legal Service Providers, these speakers delivered an informative discussion about their experience with Limited License Legal Technicians in Washington State, and their perspective on the need for the legal profession to embrace the change and help shape it.

On September 20, 2018, the Family Law – Vancouver Section welcomed Miriam Kresivo QC, Nancy Merrill QC, and Michael Lucas to host an open discussion with members of the family bar to get their insights and feedback on the matter. The speakers went into depth about how and why this initiative was formulated and asked members about why they think it wouldn’t work citing areas of concern and also if anything, what members thought would work in the proposal.

uuu To hear more of this lively open discussion, the recording and minutes are found here.