LSO Permitting Approved Non-Licensees to Provide Innovative Technological Legal Services Under Regulatory Pilot Project
For several reasons, including rising legal costs and lack of access to justice, many Canadians do not seek out lawyers to help with their legal issues. In fact, 80% of the legal needs of Canadians are not served by the traditional approach used by lawyers.
Earlier this year, the Law Society of Ontario Convocation took one step to address this issue by approving a five-year regulatory pilot which will allow any individual or entity (does not need to be a lawyer or paralegal) to apply to be part of a “Regulatory Sandbox for Innovative Technological Legal Services”. Once approved by the LSO, the participants in the program will be able to provide “innovative technological legal services” under the supervision of the LSO for a period of generally two years. This pilot program is important because it means that “non-lawyers” will be able to provide legal services to the public, something that has, up until now, only been reserved for licensees (lawyers and paralegals).
While it is unclear what type of programs or technological tools might be available to the public under this program, they could be similar to the legal tech services already available to lawyers and law firms, such as technology that analyzes or drafts contracts, legal research memos, wills or other testamentary documents, or perhaps analyzes case outcomes or predicts damages awards, etc.
The LSO anticipates opening the program to applicants in October 2021. It will be interesting to see who applies. Meanwhile, the LSO has just published the job posting for the manager of the regulatory sandbox, in case you are interested in applying!
Some feel that regulatory sandboxes are a good way to move legal innovation forward. However, others think it is not going far enough and want the LSO to stay out of regulating legal innovation all together.
What are your thoughts? Let us know!
You can read more about it the pilot program here.