Legal Aid Ontario
Legal Aid Ontario employees are committed to making a difference in the lives of our clients.
As an integral partner in the Justice system, working at Legal Aid Ontario is more than just a job. It’s an opportunity to help people who need it the most; to ensure each client receives the access to justice afforded to them under the law.
If you are looking for a new challenge in your already meaningful career with a team dedicated to justice, and innovation in a flexible and supportive work environment consider this opportunity below.
The Senior Counsel Program has provincial scope and complements LAO’s existing mixed model of private bar and duty counsel services by providing eligible clients with another option for high quality full representation.
The successful candidate will be responsible for assisting vulnerable clients on a range of criminal matters, up to and including full trial representation in the West District (Windsor and Sarnia – some travel to court locations throughout Southwestern Ontario and as far north as Owen Sound). Senior Counsel also accept court appointments, in appropriate cases, and create and facilitate mentorship opportunities for staff lawyers and private counsel to further enhance access to justice.
LAO is in the process of developing an organization-wide hybrid workplace model, taking into consideration the range of services and roles performed throughout the organization. During this development phase, the work of this role is hybrid and structured to provide greater remote work, but some in-person presence will be required.
Reports to: Manager, Legal Services – Senior Counsel Program
• Work in conjunction with existing LAO staff lawyers, paralegals and LAWs
• Carriage of criminal matters through to trial where client is eligible for and wishes the services of LAO Senior Counsel, with particular emphasis on assisting vulnerable and hard-to-serve clients in the Mental Health, Indigenous, Racialized, and Youth communities
• Conduct special bail hearings, bail reviews, appeals, fitness, NCR, and ORB hearings.
• Accept court appointments (Amicus, 486.3, 672.24, O’Connor/Mills) and advance test case or public interest litigation, where appropriate.
• Conduct client meetings and provide timely, clear and concise professional advice to clients
• Perform legal research to ensure the best outcome for the client
• Draft relevant legal documents in a timely and efficient matter
• Maintain currency of legal knowledge in criminal law, specifically within the social justice sector
• Perform assigned case management duties to support the efficient defence of criminal matters
• Perform all administrative duties relating to file management to ensure efficient and timely processing of files
• Maintain currency and compliance with LAO training, policies and procedures, including timely submission of dockets
• Serve as mentors to duty counsel, providing coaching and support where needed
• Provide mentoring and guidance to non-lawyer staff, particularly with respect to making appropriate referrals to the certificate program.
• Partner on select matters with private counsel to support certificate roster
• Member in good standing of the Law Society of Ontario
• Ability to work with others in a fast-paced environment
• Ability to work independently
• Sound judgment and problem solving skills
• Applicants must meet LAO’s Criminal Law Standards or Equivalencies, including demonstrated expertise and substantial recent involvement in criminal law as outlined at: https://www.legalaid.on.ca/lawyers-legal-professionals/interested-in-doing-legal-aid-work/criminal-law-standards/
• Applicants who are LAO Roster members must have a demonstrable record of service quality, including a history of a positive working relationship with LAO and be in good standing with legal accounts
• Ability to develop an appropriate theory of a criminal case and to conduct pretrial motions and voir dires, examination and cross-examination of witnesses, the tendering and challenging of evidence, jury selection, opening and closing addresses, contested sentencing, and reopening.
• Experience representing clients in all stages of criminal proceedings before the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice
• Experience serving low income Ontarians, Indigenous and racialized clients and clients with mental health issues
• Demonstrated knowledge of Canadian criminal law and procedure (e.g. Criminal Code of Canada, Youth Criminal Justice Act, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act), the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and other relevant legislation
• Excellent oral and written communication and advocacy skills, including the ability to effectively communicate with a diverse clientele
• Proven ability to analyze and express legal issues and provide advice
• Understanding of the nature and scope of the work and the roles and responsibilities of LAO’s mandate and services
• Demonstrated interest in developing organizational capacity to deliver LAO senior litigation services
• Access to a vehicle and willingness to travel within Ontario. Mileage will be compensated.
Preferred Skills & Experiences:
• Ability to use the latest communication technologies including smartphones and video conferencing platforms in order to deliver services virtually (Zoom/Teams)
• Proficiency in using computer based file management and data entry systems such as PeopleSoft/Service Integration, Legal Files, as well as Microsoft Office
• Eligibility for Extremely Serious Matters (ESM) and Complex Case Rate (CCR)
• Proficiency in French is considered an asset
To apply submit a cover letter & résumé.
This position is represented by The Society of United Professionals and the employee will be governed by the provisions of the collective agreement and union dues will be deducted bi-weekly from date of hire.
First preference will be given to current members of The Society of United Professionals.
Please note that all applicants are encouraged to provide a valid email address for communication purposes. Applicants may receive written correspondence regarding this job posting directly to the email address provided on their resume or to the one used to set up their Candidate Profile if applying on Njoyn. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure that you check your email regularly.
First time applying to LAO? You will need to create a profile AND then apply for the position. Already have an Njoyn account? Just sign in and select “my jobs” to apply.
Once you have successfully applied you will receive a confirmation email.
Trouble applying? For telephone support please call 1-877-427-7717 or email support: [email protected]
Legal Aid Ontario values integrity, respect, responsiveness, excellence, independence, accountability, openness and consistency. Our recruitment process reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Accommodations are available upon request.
Legal Aid Ontario encourages applicants from equity seeking groups, including but not limited to individuals who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis descent, persons with disabilities, women, members of racialized communities and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We recognize the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and are committed to addressing systemic barriers, and attracting and retaining diverse staff. All interested and eligible people will be considered, with due consideration to all protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.