Recently, Justice Bonkalo released a report recommending that paralegals be allowed to practice without supervision in cases family law dealing with custody, access, restraining orders, and child support. To say that the report was met with deep consternation is perhaps an understatement. While I will not re-hash my opinion of this issue (which I have publicly stated on Twitter), I and many other lawyers will readily agree that the access to justice issues are real for a lot of people. The traditional model of legal fees does not necessarily work for all people and all cases. On the other hand, lawyers face continuing escalating costs and a legal aid system that is broken. Given these challenges, I think it is incumbent on the legal profession to reflect on that and make some changes.
In that spirit, I have re-vamped the section of my website dealing with “coaching and support”. For various reasons, family lawyers have been slow to adopt more flexible services for clients, and I think the Bonkalo report is a wake-up call for those of us who work in this field. With that in mind, I am test-driving some alternative pricing structures for clients who are unable to afford traditional “full-service” representation. I will be experimenting with the idea of allowing clients to buy time in increments for coaching services. I am also offering more document preparation and review services.
Please take a look at my new “Coaching and Support” page for more information about the types of limited services I am offering.