If you are eligible to receive the services of a lawyer to represent you, Legal Aid Alberta will work as quickly as possible to assign a lawyer to your matter. Depending on the matter, the time for appointing a lawyer will vary. If you have provided your email to Legal Aid Alberta, your lawyer’s information will be emailed to you.
All matters are prioritized based on the urgency of the legal situation and the next upcoming court date. If a lawyer is not assigned in time for your court date, use duty counsel to request an adjournment and update Legal Aid Alberta about the status of your matter if there have been any changes. For family and immigration matters, please call in to provide an update your next court date.
Once You Have Been Approved For Representation and Know the Name of Your Lawyer
- Write down your lawyer's name and phone number.
- Call your lawyer's office to make an appointment — do not go to your lawyer's office without calling first.
- Always call your lawyer to reschedule if you can't keep an upcoming appointment.
Before Meeting With Your Lawyer
- Write down any questions you have.
- Make notes of things you want to tell your lawyer at your meetings.
- Keep all of your legal papers in an envelope or file and bring them to every meeting. It can also be beneficial for you to bring a notebook and pen to your appointments so that you can make your own notes of your meetings.
Legal Aid Alberta will only discuss your matter with you or your lawyer. We will not release any information about you or your client file to anyone other than you and the lawyer assigned to assist you, unless you give us your permission to do so.
We may check on the progress of your matter and may contact you or your lawyer to ask for updates regarding either your legal issues or changes to your eligibility. You must continue to meet our eligibility requirements throughout your matter.
Working With Your Lawyer
Your Lawyer's Responsibilities
- to help you with your legal problem. Your lawyer will only be able to help you with the legal matters approved in your application with Legal Aid Alberta;
- to explain your rights and the laws that relate to your problem;
- to discuss the options of your case, possible outcomes and risks. With your lawyer's assistance, you will choose the option that is best for you, and your lawyer will then take the necessary steps to help you resolve your legal problem;
- to give you an estimate of how long it will take to resolve your legal issue; and/or
- to explain the limitations of your coverage with Legal Aid Alberta, such as letting you know how many hours they are allowed to spend on your case.
- it is your responsibility to contact your lawyer and make arrangements to discuss your case;
- be completely honest with your lawyer. Lawyers respect your right to confidentiality and can help you better when they know everything about your case;
- read everything your lawyer gives or sends to you and ask questions if you don't understand something;
- your lawyer has a limited number of hours they can work and bill Legal Aid Alberta for your case, so be respectful of how you use your lawyer's time and be willing to take an active role in your case. In doing so, you can avoid paying a higher legal bill; and
- you must notify your lawyer and Legal Aid Alberta of any changes in your financial situation or personal contact information.
Change of Counsel
Change of counsel is the term used when a client is not satisfied with the service they are receiving from their lawyer and they wish to request a new lawyer to represent them for the remainder of their case.
If you disagree with your lawyer, always start by talking to your lawyer about the issue, advice or instructions that are causing concern. If after talking to your lawyer you are still unable to agree, call the Legal Services Centre at 1.866.845.3425 or submit the form below. You may be asked to write Legal Aid Alberta a letter outlining the problems you have had with your lawyer.
Request for a Change of Counsel
Please be aware that a request for a change of counsel may significantly delay the progress on your file and affect your case. Changes of counsel are not automatically or always allowed. Repeated requests for change of counsel may result in termination of services.