A Map to Help Navigate the Potential Hazards of Serving Clients on a Budget

In today’s difficult economic environment, it’s not unusual for lawyers to find themselves dealing with requests for representation from clients of limited means, or clients who want to keep their legal fees at a minimum. The economic issues these types of requests raise is but one consideration: Access to justice – which has become a prominent issue in Ontario lately – also figures in the equation.

Instead of turning away clients with limited budgets, lawyers often consider ways of providing limited scope or non-traditional legal services. From a malpractice exposure perspective, lawyers should appreciate that providing limited services can create a set of risks different from those that arise in a matter handled without limitations on fees, and may present an increased risk for claims. Some alternative approaches fall completely outside the coverage provided by your E&O insurance policy.

As a fun approach to a serious problem, we created a “map” for the August 2012 edition of LAWPRO Magazine. It gives an overview of the options lawyers might consider, highlights potential claims risks, and introduces some strategies and resources lawyers can use to protect themselves.

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