LAO Newsroom

Second chair mentorship program expands

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is expanding its second chair program to a more streamlined and lawyer-friendly process. Second chair funds opportunities for junior lawyers to receive hands-on training and assistance from senior lawyers. The program is directed exclusively to private bar lawyers working on legal aid funded cases.

The streamlined approach will involve pre-approving selected senior lawyers for a defined number of second chair hours. A senior lawyer can use these hours on a number of different cases, without having to re-apply to LAO for approval each time. The program expansion includes family law, refugee law, mental health law and medium to small criminal cases. Mentoring for big case management cases will continue to be approved under the original case-by-case second chair approval process.

What are the benefits of the expansion?

In addition to eliminating the case-by-case application and approval process, senior lawyers will enjoy significant autonomy in mentoring legal aid cases. Senior lawyers will decide:

  • what certificate cases will provide the best mentoring opportunities
  • how the mentoring should be provided
  • who amongst LAO panel lawyers would most benefit from mentoring.

The expansion of the second chair program will provide more opportunities for junior lawyers to obtain hands-on training from experienced counsel on legal aid cases, and to better serve the needs of low-income clients.

How will the mentors be selected?

Senior lawyers can be sole practitioners or senior members of firms who are prepared to mentor less experienced lawyers from outside their firm. Interested senior panel lawyers can apply on-line at Suitable candidates will be selected based on prior experience and their proposed ideas for mentorship. As funds are limited, please submit your application as soon as possible for the 2015/2016 fiscal year.



For more information, contact:

Marcus Pratt
Deputy Director, Policy & Strategic Research
Phone: 416-979-2352 x 6483

For communications requests:

Nancy Beal
Communications Advisor
Phone: 416-979-2352 x 5456