Legal Aid Alberta’s roster of private sector lawyers is comprised of more than 1,200 skilled, dedicated legal professionals actively serving disadvantaged Albertans in more than 75 communities.
Roster lawyers come from the private bar, which means they have their own practice and/or work for a private law firm. You must be a lawyer or student-at-law registered with the Law Society of Alberta to join the roster and you must be on the roster to be eligible for a legal aid file.
Roster lawyers are service providers who are required to sign a standard agreement acknowledging they will follow organizational policies and rules. In the past year, more than 1,200 lawyers confirmed their commitment to Legal Aid Alberta clients by signing the agreement.
Roster lawyers bring a breadth of expertise and experience in criminal and family law. 60 percent of criminal defence lawyers on the roster have been practicing law for more than five years.
Legal Aid Alberta’s roster fluctuates as new lawyers join and others retire, move, or become unavailable to take new legal aid cases. The number of available lawyers has remained steady at around 1,200 for the past five years.
Roster lawyers regularly attend skills development training opportunities provided by Legal Aid Alberta at no cost to learn how to effectively represent Albertans who face significant life challenges. In the past year, attendance to Legal Aid Alberta webinars, conferences, and training seminars has exceeded 1,000.
More than 120 roster lawyers are members of Legal Aid Alberta lawyer panels, selected to represent youth, children and sex assault complainants in extremely complex cases. These lawyers bring in-depth knowledge, significant courtroom experience including trials and sentencing, and have spent years of their practice working directly with challenging clients.
Legal Aid Alberta has a network of more than 300 roster lawyers readily available to provide duty counsel services in courtrooms across the province and that number is consistently growing. 60 roster lawyers are currently participating in training and job shadowing to become duty counsel.
Access to justice for future generations depends on young lawyers interested in public interest law and who are passionate about working with disadvantaged citizens. With an eye to the future, Legal Aid Alberta strongly encourages early-career lawyers to join. 40 percent of criminal defence lawyers on the roster are in their first five years of practice.
Legal Aid Alberta welcomes students-at-law on the roster so they can gain practical courtroom experience and start to build meaningful careers in public interest law. Legal Aid Alberta also provides articling opportunities for recent law school graduates and work placements for law students.
Better processes, systems, and relationships with roster lawyers is a priority for Legal Aid Alberta. An internal committee is currently collaborating with roster lawyers to solve critical issues, including simplifying the tariff structure to reduce administrative burden.
Roster lawyers have access to a billing and certificate management system called the Lawyer Portal – a secure one-stop-shop for lawyers to manage their profile, accept new files, send timesheets and invoices, and perform other procedural transactions.
A section on the Legal Aid Alberta website called Roster Resources is dedicated to supporting roster lawyers with timely news announcements, tip sheets, and easy access to policies and procedures. The Roster Report e-newsletter is sent to roster lawyers at least once per month.
Legal Aid Alberta employs more than 120 full-time staff lawyers with special knowledge and skills to serve people facing significant legal and life challenges. Staff lawyers practice criminal, family and immigration law and provide duty counsel services in docket and therapeutic courts across the province. Career opportunities are open to all lawyers.