2. Find a lawyer
Question & AnswerWhere can I find a lawyer to help with my family law issue?
Here are some ways to find a lawyer. Check to see if the lawyer 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 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 licensed to practise law in Ontario. You can search the directory by name, city, or postal code.
The Law Society also has a Directory of Certified Specialists that lists lawyers by area of law. But not all lawyers who specialize in family law are listed this directory. It only lists lawyers who have applied to be included in the directory and who meet certain requirements.
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
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 charge reduced fees based on your income and the size of your family. You must register and pay a small fee to use their services.
Some lawyers provide unbundled services or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you hire them to help with a certain part of your legal problem only. Unbundled services can also be called limited scope services, unbundled legal services, or legal coaching.
You can find directories of lawyers that offer unbundled services on the The National Self-Represented Litigants Project website and Ontario’s Family Law Limited Scope Services Project website.
Family and friends
You can ask family and friends for the name of a lawyer they have used. If you do this, remember that everyone's case is different. Just because a lawyer was good for your family or friend doesn't mean they are right for you.