Access to Justice Week Highlight – Rural and Remote Access to Justice

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a2jinfographicthumbnailBy Brea Lowenberger, Access To Justice Coordinator
University of Saskatchewan, College of Law

The College of Law and the Law Society recognize the potential challenges facing lawyers in smaller communities. For more information, please see the infographics attached and featured below that highlight this issue.   The infographic highlights the main themes in Rural and Remote Access to Justice: Literature Review and was prepared by the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice.

The Law Society offers several programs to assist our members, particularly those in more rural locations:

  • Locum Lawyer Registry

The Law Society has recently developed a Locum Lawyer Registry, available on our website. A Locum Lawyer is a Saskatchewan lawyer, in good standing with the Law Society, who is willing to make themselves available (for appropriate financial compensation) to provide temporary or limited relief, or practice coverage for other Saskatchewan practitioners who may find themselves in need of some assistance. The services a Locum could be engaged to cover are instances such as holidays for solo practitioners, or extended medical leave. Temporary assistance for major projects or with “catch-up” may also be circumstances in which a Locum  would be helpful.                     

  • New Solo/Small Firm Start-Up Kit

Law Society Practice Advisors are assigned to meet with each “New Solo Practitioner” and each “New Small Firm” (generally 3 lawyers or fewer).  The Practice Advisors review the Law Office and Practice Management systems that the members have in place and attempt to provide assistance and recommendations which will assist the members in developing an efficient and low-risk practice.  These meetings generally occur after a period of time has passed, to allow the “New Solo/Small Firm” to establish themselves somewhat, and so that the Practice Advisors have something substantive to   review.  However, the Practice Advisors have noted that  a “New Solo Starter Kit” could be of great benefit, as members can review relevant, helpful and instructive materials which will hopefully assist them to get started off “on the right foot” and be prepared for the Practice Advisor visit.  These materials, which can also be found in various locations throughout the website, may also be of assistance to Not-So-New Practitioners, looking to confirm or shore-up their current practices.  The consolidated materials and a list of recommended recorded versions of CPD sessions of particular relevance for “New Solo/Small Firms” can be found in the Practice Resources section of the website.

  • Member Section Resources

To meet the needs of all our members, no matter their location, we have converted as much as possible to online resources. The Law Society’s Member Section, available on the website, houses numerous online resources to assist our members. These resources include:

  • More than 150 ebooks;
  • Subscriptions to WestLawNext Canada, O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms, Rangefindr; and
  • Hundreds of journals available through HeinOnline.

For these and other resources, please visit the Law Society website.

The College of Law Career Office and and the law students’ Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee have also organized the following community visit to North Battleford and Battleford:

  • Law Student Small Urban and Rural Law Firm Trip (Pre-Registration Required)

The College of Law Career Office and law students’ “Small Urban and Rural Initiatives Committee” (SURC) are interested in promoting legal careers across Saskatchewan and as such each year organize a trip for a group of students to visit a community outside of Saskatoon.  It is referred to as the Small Urban and Rural Initiative.  The objective is to assist students to learn about what it is like to practice law in a community outside of the major centres and let them know about the numerous opportunities that exist.  As well, the students will gain information about a number of factors including the lifestyle of the lawyers, the main areas of law that lawyers practise and general information about the community.  Students get to meet a number of lawyers and community representatives and learn about practising law in general in a small urban or rural centre.

The Career Office would like to thank Jeff Baldwin and the members of SURC, Jessica Kelly, Allison Graham, Liam Fitzgerald, Brady Knight and Darcy Dumont, for coordinating the visit.  In addition, we would like to acknowledge the financial contribution of the CBA, Saskatchewan Branch towards this initiative.    If you are a lawyer at a small urban or rural law firm and are interested in hosting students at your firm during a future trip, please contact Career Officer Terri Karpish.

One thought on “Access to Justice Week Highlight – Rural and Remote Access to Justice

    Richard Gibbons said:
    October 21, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Level the playing field and give the rural lawyers a break on CPD for the hours extra to attend and the cost of transport


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