2020 Year in Review

The pandemic has exacerbated the struggles faced by many Albertans and demand for Legal Aid services has never been greater. We are innovating and re-imagining our processes to serve Albertans.

Communications and Public Relations
December 17, 2020

Legal Aid Alberta Year in Review (PDF)

2020 has been a year of extraordinary challenge and change.

Legal Aid Alberta has stayed operational throughout COVID-19. We continue to innovate and re-imagine processes in order to serve Albertans and help them navigate the justice system safely. Aligned with the judiciary, we are working with the courts to provide alternative service delivery.

As part of the 2020 Come Together: Our Path Forward Initiative, we want to come back from the pandemic even stronger.

“COVID has introduced so many challenges for so many individuals but we want people to know they’re not alone.” Andrea Doyle, Senior Advisory Counsel

Graphic illustrating LAA's response to the evolving pandemic over 2020.

2020 Legal Services Highlights

  • Advance Appearance Duty Counsel
  • Authorization Request Process
  • Centralized Duty Counsel Scheduling
  • Choice of Counsel
  • Change of Counsel
  • Criminal Trial Group
  • Duty Counsel Crown Disclosure
  • Family Law Assessment
  • Out-of-court Duty Counsel
  • Out-of-custody Triage

Learn about these initiatives in our 2020 Year in Review report (PDF)

Our Clients

At Legal Aid Alberta, we help some of our most vulnerable citizens – many of whom are facing more dire circumstances due to the pandemic.

$9,995 – average annual income
21% – have zero income

Sad young girl or woman with hood and protective medicine mask standing outside.

In addition to their extremely limited financial resources, our clients also face a variety of unique circumstances.

  • mental health issues
  • incarceration
  • chronic homelessness
  • addiction
  • family breakdown and lack of family supports
  • language and education barriers
  • Indigenous and historical cultural trauma

“People are treated with great dignity in an effort to understand their challenges in conditions that don’t set them up for failure.” Amna Qureshi, head of LAA’s Mental Health Court team

2020 News Spotlights

Learn about our clients in the 2020 Year in Review report (PDF)

Our Services

As a publicly funded, non-profit organization, we are mandated by the Government of Alberta, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, to provide legal services to Albertans. The tariff and services are outlined in our 2019 Governance Agreement.

Video Spotlight: Legal Aid Alberta protects the legal rights of Albertans

Duty Counsel

LAA staff lawyers perform duty counsel services and their long-standing presence in this role has made them extremely knowledgeable, efficient, and highly valuable to the courts.

There is a high volume of individuals in the court system with addictions, mental health issues, cognitive challenges such as FASD, and related issues.

The practice of law client management is a skill unto itself, particularly when dealing with individuals who may have significant personal challenges.

2020 News Spotlight

“I’ve often helped clients for whom a trip to the courthouse was a challenge, since they had to walk to the city from a rural area. Having the 14-day window to prepare in advance, and remotely, is a substantial improvement to their access to justice.” Marino Eliopoulos, Legal Services Manager

Learn about our services in the 2020 Year in Review report (PDF).

Our People

300 staff. 1,200 roster lawyers. 8 locations. 1 unified voice for Albertans.

A smiling professional holds a file in an office hallway.

LAA staff provide highly specialized legal and support services to Albertans. Our staff lawyers specialize in complex areas of law and our staff are diversely skilled in different fields, helping clients resolve their legal matters.

2020 News Spotlights

“Extending rule of law to every member of our society is a vital mission and one that I am proud to support.” Staff Lawyer Scott Hammond

Learn about our people in the 2020 Year in Review report (PDF).

Our Operations

The pandemic has exacerbated the struggles faced by many Albertans and demand for Legal Aid services has never been higher. In response, we have hired additional intake officers at our contact centre, and we are prioritizing calls from individuals in custody.

Video Spotlight: Client Contact Centre
Receiving up to 1,000 calls per day, the contact centre is often a client’s first point of contact with LAA.

Improving front line service delivery during the pandemic is a priority for Legal Aid Alberta. We are finding efficiencies within our systems and processes to meet unprecedented demand for our services.

Work From Home
LAA has moved quickly to ensure all staff who could work from home do so as much as possible. Because our staff provide essential front line services within the justice system, we are working hard to pivot and adjust service delivery in response to fast-changing conditions.

Operational Systems

  • New public website
  • New financial system
  • MS Teams Adoption

Video Spotlight: New Calgary office space
Our Calgary office re-evaluated their space requirements and found a new space that costs less, is closer to the courthouse, and allows all our staff to be together on one floor.

Learn about our operations in the 2020 Year in Review report (PDF).

2020 Media Highlights

LAA earned positive press coverage across Canada in 2020, helping grow awareness about our services and expertise.

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