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How to find a lawyer or paralegal

Region: Ontario Answer Number: 858

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There are a number of different ways to find a lawyer or paralegal.

It is important to note that lawyers cannot be experts in every area of law. Many lawyers restrict their practice to a particular area of law and do not handle other types of legal work. For example, most real estate lawyers would not handle divorces.

In the case of paralegals, they are limited, by the Law Society of Upper Canada, with regard to the types of cases they are permitted to undertake. In addition, paralegals may also restrict the types of cases they wish to handle.

Therefore, before you look for a lawyer or paralegal, it is a good idea to determine what type of legal issue you have, so that you can obtain the appropriate legal representation.

Using the services of a lawyer or paralegal you already know

Many people turn to a lawyer or paralegal that they may have used in the past when they are faced with a new legal matter. This works if the lawyer or paralegal has the expertise to deal with your new issue. It is always advisable to seek help from someone experienced in the type of matter you are facing. Sometimes a lawyer you know will give you a referral to someone he or she knows or works with.

Word of mouth

Many people find a lawyer or paralegal by asking their family members, friends and co-workers if they are happy with a particular lawyer or paralegal that they have used in the past. If they handle your type of legal issue, you may want to use this same lawyer or paralegal to help you.


Legal Aid

If a person qualifies financially, the types of cases that may be covered by legal aid include: certain criminal charges, issues regarding family law matters, immigration and refugee matters, and some civil cases and final appeals. If you believe that you qualify for legal aid, contact a legal aid office in your area to obtain a list of lawyers who take legal aid cases. Currently, Legal Aid Ontario uses a small number of paralegals, who work with lawyers and legal aid workers, to provide criminal law services in their courthouse offices.


Directory and online searches

People often use directory and online searches to find the legal help they need. This can be a daunting task. Since there is an abundance of lawyers and paralegals to choose from, it will take some time to determine if one of them is right for you.

Legal Line Referral Service (LLRS)

The Legal Line Referral Service (LLRS) is designed to help the public access further legal assistance after having reviewed the legal answers on this website.

The large number of topics on the Legal Line website allows you to connect with a lawyer who is an expert with your EXACT issue. Simply go to the specific topic you are interested in, and click on the lawyer or agency hotlink within the topic. In addition, you can also click on the Links section of this website for further assistance.

Law Society Referral Service (LSRS)

The Law Society Referral Service is an online service for residents of Ontario for referrals to lawyers or paralegals who will provide a free, up to 30 minute consultation either by phone or in person. You may request a referral online at You can request to be referred to a lawyer or paralegal who speaks languages other than English or French, or a lawyer who accepts legal aid certificates. A crisis line is available at 416-947-5255 or 1-855-947-5255 (TTY Phone: 416-644-4886) from Monday to Friday, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. The crisis line is intended for people who are unable to use the online services, such as those in custody, in a shelter, or in a remote community without access to the internet.

Non-residents of Ontario may wish to search for a lawyer or paralegal using the Law Society of Upper Canada’s online directory available at link: The Lawyer and Paralegal Directory is searchable by name, city, postal code, or area of law/legal services. Note that using the directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with the lawyer or paralegal.

Ontario Paralegal Association


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