Duty Counsel - Criminal (12 months)

Posting Date:
May 09, 2022
Area of Law:
Position Type:
May 23, 2022
St. Catharines and area


Duty Counsel - Criminal (12 months)

Company Bio

Legal Aid Ontario employees are committed to making a difference in the lives of our clients.

As an integral partner in the Justice system, working at Legal Aid Ontario is more than just a job. It's an opportunity to help people who need it the most; to ensure each client receives the access to justice afforded to them under the law.

If you are looking for a new challenge in your already meaningful career with a team dedicated to justice, and innovation in a flexible and supportive work environment consider this opportunity below.

Primary function
To provide criminal duty counsel services in St. Catherines, Welland & Fort Erie. This role may require travel throughout the district on occasion. As such, applicants with readily available transportation or an ability to rent a vehicle are preferred.

As a result of the pandemic most services are currently being provided virtually and in person (hybrid model) with minimal “on-site” supervision. This position will appeal to a lawyer experienced in a broad range of criminal proceedings who can effectively navigate the demands of a busy hybrid workplace.

Criminal Duty Counsel is responsible for providing client service for criminal law matters in the courthouse, both virtually and in person once in person services resume. Criminal Duty Counsel will be responsible for the intake and assessment of unrepresented adult and youth clients to determine the appropriate service for those charged with criminal offences, including but not limited to providing procedural and summary legal advice; drafting and reviewing criminal court documents; in court representation at various stages of criminal court proceedings.

Reports to: Manager of Criminal Duty Counsel

Key accountabilities
• Assisting unrepresented clients who have been charged with criminal matters
• Representing clients at bail hearings, guilty pleas and remands both in-person and remotely
• Assessing clients’ needs, including the early identification of vulnerable clients, to facilitate referrals to appropriate services.
• Providing in-person and remote summary legal advice to clients in or out of custody
• Assisting colleagues in preparation of bail hearings, guilty pleas and other forms of resolutions
• When appropriate, representing clients in Crown pre-trial negotiations for purposes of resolution
• Representing clients in specialty courts including Mental Health, Gladue, Domestic Violence, and Youth Courts as required
• Ensuring a high quality of legal work in a cost effective manner
• File management as per LAO requirements including use of computer technology; data input for statistics measurements in a timely manner
• Punctual attendance at court to perform daily duties
• Providing assistance with legal aid referrals as required
• Facilitating knowledge-sharing and best practices among court locations and staff offices
• Perform other duties and administrative tasks as assigned and remain adaptable and flexible in a changing environment

Required skills & experience
• Lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario
• Demonstrated experience in representing clients with complex legal issues including conducing bails hearings, and guilty pleas.
• Sound knowledge of the Criminal Code of Canada, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, criminal law procedures, rules of evidence and case law
• Practical understanding of the Rules of Professional Conduct
• Communication, presentation and negotiation skills coupled with strong advocacy skills in the Ontario Court of Justice
• Proven judgment and analytical ability to determine appropriate legal remedies
• Knowledge and appreciation of impact of criminal proceedings on immigration, family and other poverty law issues; and the integrated nature of legal issues faced by LAO clients
• Proven experience in providing excellent client service to vulnerable populations such as racialized communities, First Nations, youth and those experiencing mental health or addiction challenges and/or homelessness
• Ability to work independently and unsupervised in a fast-paced environment while also demonstrating collaboration and teamwork with colleagues and other stakeholders
• Demonstrated proficiency in using computer based file management and data entry systems such as PeopleSoft, DCSW, etc as well as Microsoft Office
• Demonstrated ability to use latest communication technologies including tablets and smartphones and ability to utilize video conferencing platforms in order to deliver services virtually (Zoom/Lync/Teams)
• Ability to communicate in French is an asset.

To apply submit a cover letter & résumé.

This position is represented by The Society of United Professionals and the employee will be governed by the provisions of the collective agreement and union dues will be deducted bi-weekly from date of hire.

First Preference will be given to current members of The Society of United Professionals.

Please note that all applicants are encouraged to provide a valid email address for communication purposes. Applicants may receive written correspondence regarding this job posting directly to the email address provided on their resume or to the one used to set up their Candidate Profile if applying on Njoyn. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure that you check your email regularly.

First time applying to LAO? You will need to create a profile AND then apply for the position.
Already have an Njoyn account? Just sign in and select "my jobs" to apply.
Once you have successfully applied you will receive a confirmation email.

Trouble applying? For telephone support please call 1-877-427-7717 or email support: candidate.njoynhelp@cgi.com.

Equity Statement

Legal Aid Ontario values integrity, respect, responsiveness, excellence, independence, accountability, openness and consistency. Our recruitment process reflects our commitment to diversity and inclusion. Accommodations are available upon request.

Legal Aid Ontario encourages applicants from equity seeking groups, including but not limited to individuals who are First Nations, Inuit or Métis descent, persons with disabilities, women, members of racialized communities and the 2SLGBTQ+ community. We recognize the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and are committed to addressing systemic barriers, and attracting and retaining diverse staff. All interested and eligible people will be considered, with due consideration to all protected grounds under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

View full job description


Contact Name Shanna Gonsalves

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