As part of our commitment to transparency and accountability, Legal Aid Saskatchewan conducted a review of our private bar lawyer services and payments process in order to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement. The goal was to streamline the system and present best practices, for things such as standardizing approvals and payments. Standardized processes ensure efficient and consistent decision-making, response and payment to our valued private bar service providers, while remaining accountable to our mission.
The final report can be viewed here: Private Bar Billing Modernization: Sustaining Access to Justice
Implementation of the recommendations in this report are underway. This implementation aims to:
The implementation commenced October 1, 2022 and will conclude September 31, 2023.
Legal Aid Saskatchewan management, staff, and key stakeholders (in particular the private bar) will be consulted during the implementation of the recommendations.
**NEW** LAS Private Bar Billing Modernization Project: March 2023 Status Update & Questions and Answers (published March 14, 2023)
Summary: This document provides updates on various project activities, as well as details a few topics related to the modernization project.
Private Bar Billing Modernization: Sustaining Access to Justice (published August 2022)
Summary: This review supports Legal Aid Saskatchewan's strategic initiatives identifying system, policy and process improvements that enhance service to the private bar, address staff concerns and improve oversight and accountability.
Private Bar Billing Modernization Project: Information Session (December 15, 2022)
Why did Legal Aid Saskatchewan (LAS) review the private bar billing process?
The private bar billing process has not changed for several years, while the number of private bar accounts keeps increasing. By reviewing the private bar billing process, LAS had the following objectives in mind:
Did LAS consult with the private bar during the review?
The consultant carrying out the review, Jawad Kassab, interviewed members of the private bar chosen by LAS and Court Appointed Council management based on several factors, including length of service, geographic location, area of law, size of practice. Members of the private bar were also invited to notify LAS if they wanted to be interviewed.
These interviews provided an opportunity for the private bar to share billing concerns and to suggest how billing might be improved. The private bar voice was critical to identifying billing challenges and proposing solutions/recommendations found in the report.
How did LAS consult with management and staff during the review?
The consultant, Jawad Kassab, interviewed key management and staff connected to the private bar billing process, including the CEO, CEO’s admin assistant, General Counsel, Practice Management Counsel, Director of Finance and IT, Accounting Clerks, and the Director of Operations. The consultant held a Legal Directors' focus group to ensure the Legal Director voices were captured in the billing review.
Management and staff were invited to contact LAS if they wanted to be interviewed.
What kind of changes can I expect with implementation of the report’s recommendations? Will I be paid less for the work I do? Will my accounts be cut more often?
The LAS review concluded in June 2022 with specific recommendations. The recommendations focus on:
For access to the Private Bar Billing Modernization Report, please click here.
The recommendations are not focused on paying lawyers less or "cutting" accounts more often. The recommendations clarify billing policies and processes, improve systems and structures of accountability.
Will the private bar be kept informed as the implementation progresses?
LAS’s CEO, Jayne Mallin, announced the beginning of the implementation process by email in October 2022. LAS will keep the private bar informed as implementation progresses through a series of three virtual online sessions, as well as email communications, including Qs & As. LAS would like to hear from you should you have any questions or concerns [insert contact info].
How long will the implementation last?
The implementation kicked off on October 4th, 2022 and is scheduled to be completed by June 30th, 2023. This end date may be extended if needed to ensure a smooth implementation.
Who do I contact if I have questions and would like more information?
Should you have any questions regarding the implementation, please don’t hesitate to contact CEO Jayne Mallin, email@example.com, or Director of Private Bar Services Cameron Schmunk, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check back here for policy review consultation opportunities.
Should you have any questions regarding the implementation, please do not hesitate to contact Legal Aid Saskatchewan's CEO, Jayne Mallin, at email@example.com, or the Director of Private Bar Services, Cameron Schmunk, at firstname.lastname@example.org.