2. Find a lawyer or paralegal
Question & AnswerWhere can I get a lawyer or paralegal for my criminal case?
Here are some ways to find a lawyer or paralegal. Check to see if the lawyer or paralegal is licensed by the Law Society of Ontario and is not facing a discipline process.
Law Society Referral Service
The Law Society of Ontario has a Law Society Referral Service. This online service gives you the name of a lawyer in your area who can talk to you for up to 30 minutes for free. You can ask for a lawyer who speaks your language, or a lawyer who accepts legal aid certificates.
If you're unable to use the online service, you can call the Law Society of Ontario crisis line at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 in Toronto. For example, you can call this number if you're in a shelter or in a remote community without access to the internet. The crisis line is available from Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
You don't have to hire the lawyer you get referred to. But you can't ask for a second referral for the same legal problem.
Law Society of Ontario Directory
The Law Society of Ontario has a Directory of all lawyers and paralegals licensed to practise law in Ontario. You can search the directory by name, address or postal code, language, or area of law. You can also search by whether services are offered in French or whether unbundled services are offered.
The Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario
The Association des juristes d’expression française (AJEFO) has a directory of French-speaking lawyers. You can search the directory by name, city, or area of law. You can also search for a lawyer who accepts legal aid certificates.
Legal Aid Ontario
Student Legal Service Organizations (SLSO)
Each law school in Ontario has a legal aid clinic staffed by law students who are supervised by lawyers. These clinics are located in Kingston, London, Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Toronto, and Windsor. Law school clinics can help with minor crimes.
The Ontario Paralegal Association has a tool called “Find a Paralegal” at the bottom of their homepage. You can search by name, keywords, area of practice, and location.
JusticeNet is a not-for-profit organization that can help people find legal services when their income is too high for legal aid and too low to afford legal fees. Their website has a list of lawyers, paralegals, and mediators who reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.
Family and friends
You can ask family and friends for the name of a lawyer or paralegal they have used. If you do this, remember that everyone's case is different. Just because a lawyer or paralegal was good for your family or friend doesn't mean they are right for you.