LAO Lawyer Satisfaction Survey 2019 results

Published: February 6, 2020

Published: January 2020


1. Background & methodology

The Lawyer Satisfaction Survey is an annual survey administered by LAO to seek opinions and feedback from private bar lawyers about their experience with LAO.

LAO uses this information to measure overall lawyer satisfaction with different areas of service and identify areas for improvement.

  • Target population: All lawyers who were paid for certificate or duty counsel work in the previous year—3,950 individuals in 2019.
  • Survey period: October 7 to 20, 2019
  • Survey mode: online
  • Total responses: 706
  • Response rate: 18 per cent
  • Non-response was accounted for by weighting
  • Margin of error from non‑response is ±3 per cent


2. Summary of findings

Rated most positively:

  • Staff services
  • Online services
  • Pride in doing legal aid work

Rated least positively:

  • Billing and payment (billing process, fairness)
  • Future legal aid work


3. Overall satisfaction with LAO

Questionnaire statement:
“Overall, I was satisfied with my relationship with LAO.”


		Overall lawyer satisfaction with LAO expressed as follows: In 2019, 43% has a positive opinion, 28% were neutral and 28% were negative. In 2018, 52% had a positive opinion, 25% were neutral and 23% had a negative opinion. In 2017, 53% had a positive opinion, 25% were neutral and 22% had a negative opinion. In 2016, 56% had a positive opinion, 26% were neutral and 19% had a negative opinion. In 2015, 57% had a positive opinion, 24% were neutral and 19% had a negative opinion.

Compared to 2018, overall satisfaction dropped by 9 percentage points.

This represents a 14 percentage point drop in satisfaction from 2015 (57 per cent to 43 per cent).


4. Satisfaction with LAO’s billing / payment

Questionnaire statement:
“Overall, I was satisfied with billing and payment at LAO”


		Stacked bar chart showing 2019 as 24% positive, 21% neutral, and 55% negative. 2018 is 32% positive, 27% neutral, and 40% negative. 2017 is 33% positive, 27% neutral, and 40% negative. 2016 is 37% positive, 28% neutral, and 35% negative. 2015 is 38% positive, 28% neutral, and 35% negative.
Drivers of Payment/Billing
% Positive 2018 2019
Billing process 38% ↓ 30%
Pay time 40% ↓ 24%
Pay fairness 30% ↓ 23%
Drivers of Payment/Billing
% Negative 2018 2019
Billing process 36% ↑ 45%
Pay time 38% ↑ 55%
Pay fairness 45% ↑ 58%

Twenty four per cent of lawyers expressed a positive view of the billing process and speed of payments. Twenty one per cent say they are “fair.”


5. Satisfaction with LAO’s staff services*

Questionnaire statement:
“Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of service”


		Stacked bar chart showing 2019 as 64% positive, 21% neutral, and 15% negative. 2018 is 68% positive, 19% neutral and 12% negative. 2017 is 68% positive, 19% neutral and 13% negative. 2016 is 65% positive, 20% neutral and 15% negative. 2015 is 63% positive, 23% neutral and 14% negative.
Drivers of staff service satisfaction
% Positive 2018 2019
Time it took to get service 67% ↓ 63%
Accessibility 68% ↓ 65%
Knowledge 75% ↓ 71%
Courteous 81% ↓ 80%
Extra mile 63% ↓ 58%
Got what I needed 69% ↓ 65%

Although the satisfaction with staff services has decreased in 2019, it remains within historical levels and the highest rated aspect of LAO’s services.

*Staff services is defined as any interaction with LAO staff whether in person, by phone or email.


6. Satisfaction with LAO’s online services*

Questionnaire statement:
“Overall, I was satisfied with the quality of service”


		Stacked bar chart showing 2019 as 54% positive, 29% neutral, and 17% negative.  2018 shows as 57% positive, 25% neutral, and 17% negative. 2017 shows as 58% positive, 26% neutral, and 16% negative. 2016 shows as 58% positive, 27% neutral, and 15% negative. 2015 shows as 60% positive, 25% neutral, and 15% negative.
Drivers of online service satisfaction
% Positive 2018 2019
Accessibility 63% ↓ 62%
Ability to find what I was looking for 51% ↓ 47%
Ease of use 53% ↓ 49%
Got what I needed 64% ↓ 62%

Satisfaction with online services has decreased in 2019, a third decrease in four years.

*Online services are LAO’s online resources for lawyers—primarily the billing portal and LAO’s public website.


7. Future legal aid work

Questionnaire statement:
“Compared to last year, how much work do you intend to do next year”*
*(paraphrased)


		Stacked bar chart showing 2019 as 32% less work, 32% the same amount of work, and 36% as more work. 2018 shows 21% less work, 37% the same, and 41% as more work. 2017 shows 22% less work, 36% the same, and 42% as less work.

A significant change was observed in the amount of lawyers who are planning to take less legal aid work next year.

The amount of lawyers expressing that they will do ‘less work’ has increased from 21 per cent in 2018 to 32 per cent in 2019.


8. Pride in legal aid work

Questionnaire statement:
“Overall, I felt proud to do legal aid work”


		Stacked bar chart showing 2019 as 69% positive, 18% neutral and 13% negative. 2018 shows 75% positive, 16% neutral and 10% negative. 2017 shows 72% positive, 18% neutral, and 10% negative.

One of the most positive scores in the survey is relating to the lawyers’ pride in doing legal aid work.

Based on additional context found in written comments, lawyers are proud of and passionate about helping vulnerable and low‑income clients.


9. Comment themes

Survey comments help to provide an important context to the quantitative results of any survey. The survey offered three opportunities for each respondent to provide a comment:

  • Additional thoughts on billing and payment.
  • Explanation of the lawyer’s assessment of their relationship with LAO.
  • Opportunity to elaborate on any previous responses or share additional thoughts.

Overall, 819 comments were submitted, and 440 lawyers provided at least one comment.

The most common themes from the comments were:

  • Improving the availability and user-friendliness of the online billing portal
  • Reducing the administrative requirements related to billing for legal aid work
  • Reducing the time it takes for LAO to process payment for legal aid work
  • Positive feedback about LAO’s research services (LAO Law)
  • Uncertainty about whether discretionary requests will be approved and the time it takes for LAO to process the requests