About the Pilot Project
Working Group Organizations: Law Society of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Justice, CREATE Justice, College of Law
Limited scope legal services (LS) are a unique approach in comparison to the traditional full retainer model. LS permits a lawyer to break down a client’s legal matter into discrete tasks & provide services for only certain steps. These services may include legal coaching, limited representation, discrete document assistance, etc. LS is sometimes referred to as unbundling, limited scope retainer, limited scope representation, a la carte legal services, discrete task representation, etc.
Within a LS model, the client accepts responsibility for performing all tasks the lawyer is not contracted to do. This can help minimize legal costs and self-representation within the legal system. Of course, LS may not be right for every person or every case. Current research indicates good candidates for these services should possess legal awareness and reasoning skills, and must be comfortable with decision making.
A small Working Group was established in Saskatchewan among the Law Society of Saskatchewan, Ministry of Justice, and CREATE Justice to support, enhance, and advance LS through the “Saskatchewan Legal Coaching and Unbundling Pilot Project” (the project). The project emerged from lawyer interest and out of the 2013 and 2014 meetings of the Dean’s Forum on Access to Justice, which identified pathways for practicing lawyers to improve access to justice. One such pathway was LS.
The Working Group took several actions to advance LS in Saskatchewan:
Hosted Continuing Professional Development (CPD): The Law Society of Saskatchewan offered an LS CPD seminar in 2013. The Ministry of Justice supported one-day training sessions on Legal Coaching, a type of LS, held for the first time in Saskatchewan in March 2018. Lawyers who attended the March 2018 Legal Coaching training expressed an interest in the Legal Coaching service delivery model. As a result, the Working Group launched a practice group and also hosted CPD seminars for lawyers on the topic of LS in October 2019, during the fourth annual Saskatchewan Access to Justice Week, and to round out the pilot project in May 2022.
Created Resources for the Public and Lawyers: The Working Group launched a website in 2018 which provided practice resources and a list of lawyers who were interested in LS to improve the public’s access to such services. The Working Group website was phased out in May 2020, when the Law Society added “Limited Scope Services” and “Legal Coaching” to its practice areas for lawyers in its public directory.
Conducted Data Collection and Evaluation for Continuous Improvement: The Working Group was committed to collecting data on LS. Such data is critical to understanding this practice in Canada and is necessary to positively shape legal practice and policy development and to produce empirically informed scholarly writing on the topic. The Working Group has completed reporting on the pilot evaluation related to the project. The Working Group is grateful to the Foundation for Legal Researchfor their support in conducting a research study associated with the pilot project.
While the pilot project has completed, the Working Group is committed to continuing to advance the topic through ongoing CPD opportunities, resource development, and data collection and evaluation. Members of the public and lawyers who are interested in learning more can visit the Law Society of Saskatchewan website:
- Lawyers: Can add these approaches to delivering legal services to their public member profile, and can click here to learn more about LS.
- Public: Can click here to learn more about LS, and here to visit the public directory to search for a lawyer who offers LS and/or the LS subset of legal coaching.
Research Snapshot: Evaluation of Pilot Project
Saskatchewan Legal Coaching and Unbundling Pilot Project Survey Report (January 2021)
Update On The Saskatchewan Legal Coaching And Unbundled Services Pilot Project (lawsociety.sk.ca, October 2021)
Brea Lowenberger, Legal Coaching And Unbundling Pilot Project (LCUP) Launches Practice Group And Evaluation
(law.usask.ca/createjustice, Nov. 16, 2020)
Bridget Yard, If you can't afford legal services, team up with a lawyer, says expert (cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon, October 24, 2019)
Jen Quesnel, Pilot project helps Saskatchewan residents cut legal costs by offering legal coaching (cbc.ca/listen/live-radio, October 21, 2019)
Anthony Davis, Saskatchewan hunts for more legal coaches (canadianlawyermag.com, April 22, 2019)
Kim Newsham, Invitation to Lawyers Interested in Offering Unbundled Services and Legal Coaching (lsslib.wordpress.com, February 27, 2019)