POSITION TITLE: Director, Queen’s Legal Aid
DEPARTMENT: Faculty of Law
POSITION NUMBER: 00110839
EFFECTIVE DATE: July 12, 2018
JOB SUMMARY: Queen’s Legal Aid (QLA) is both a legal clinic and a clinical education program. Under the supervision of staff lawyers (Director and other Review Counsel), law students at QLA deliver legal services to low income area residents of Kingston and Napanee and to students at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College.
Reporting directly to both Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and to the Executive Director, Queen’s Law Clinics (QLC) the Director, Queen’s Legal Aid is responsible for the delivery of clinical legal education to Queen’s Law students and the provision of professional services to clients, while fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment that supports equity and diversity. The Director is responsible for leading the operations of QLA including the administrative, financial, and human resources functions. The Director acts as counsel to clients, and oversees and participates in community education and development. The Director, Queen’s Legal Aid is governed by the Law Society of Ontario and must personally practice in compliance with the provincial Barristers Act, Law Society Act, Legal Aid Services Act and Solicitors Act, as well as the provincial Rules of Professional Conduct. The Director has responsibility for clinic compliance with these same statutes and rules.
Clinical Legal Education
- Supervise, teach and train law students in a clinical law setting in accordance with professional standards as set out by the Law Society and the Faculty of Law. This includes preparing students to meet the responsibilities of their work, reviewing file work, providing feedback, helping them to develop client management skills and providing other support as needed.
- Oversee the operation and evaluation of QLA services provided by students to clients, including guiding legal research, reviewing legal writing and professional correspondence, monitoring file management and relationships with clients, ensuring adherence to deadlines and undertakings, and assisting in the preparation for appearances and hearings.
- Participate in continuing legal education programs and personal professional development to stay up to date on developments in clinical legal education, and best practices in the delivery of legal services. Also, remain aware of issues that affect clients of the clinic.
- Foster a culture of collaboration among diverse groups, working closely with the staff of the QLC, including the Directors of the other clinical programs, to ensure coordinated delivery of clinical instruction and programming.
- Collaborate and develop relationships with diverse stakeholders from other law schools and providers of clinical legal education as appropriate to advocate on matters relating to clinical education and to promote the sharing of best practices and specialized expertise.
- Act as principal to articling students hired by QLA, providing an inclusive and supportive environment, where students can apply their formal learning and develop their skills, professional abilities and judgment.
- Provide personal and professional counsel to students to ensure that the services provided at the clinic are of the highest quality. This includes teaching, guiding legal research, scrutinizing legal writing and professional correspondence, monitoring client and file management techniques, ensuring adherence to deadlines and undertakings and assisting students with their appearances before courts and tribunals.
- Assist with outreach activities, conducting presentations for organizations that provide support to diverse members of the community, to secure clients and promote the activities of the clinic.
- Grade the work completed by students registered in Law 590: Clinical Litigation Practice.
- In coordination with Review Counsel, design and instruct the academic program in Law 590: Clinical Litigation Practice, including grading student caseworkers, staying current on developments in clinical legal education, and carrying out academic and administrative duties.
- Ensure the delivery of competent, timely, inclusive, and professional services to all clients in compliance with all applicable statutes and rules, policies and procedures.
- Assist in the development and implementation of systems, policies and procedures in coordination with the QLC for the effective operation of all clinics.
- Oversee day-to-day clinic operations, including processing client intake, supervising student clinical work, reporting, and ensuring up-to-date forms and precedents.
- Develop, analyze and monitor key performance indicators, and financial, statistical, budgetary and human resources information required for short and long-term strategic planning.
- Monitor and report quarterly statistics to the Executive Director, the faculty, and LAO.
- Act as a liaison between faculty, students and the University.
- Work closely with the Executive Director and the faculty, to develop fundraising opportunities for the clinic acknowledging the diverse ideas and interests of all members when making decisions.
- Attend and report at meetings as required, including Faculty Board meetings, QLC meetings, and LAO meetings.
- Manage and oversee all financial aspects of the clinic, including preparation of the annual funding application to LAO, overseeing the yearly audit, and preparation and submission of quarterly and annual financial reports to the faculty. Engage in cost benefit decision-making and ensure that the clinic achieves a balanced budget and meets the expectations of LAO and the faculty.
- Prepare the annual Funding Application and periodic reports to LAO; prepare reports for the Dean of the Faculty of Law, as required; prepare reports to other funding agencies as required.
- Accountable for financial reporting to the faculty and the success of QLA.
- Supervise legal and non-legal staff in accordance with professional standards as set by the Law Society and the University.
- Provide leadership to staff and students to establish and promote a professional, collegial, supportive and inclusive work environment.
- Plan, prioritize and manage the work of employees, providing strategic and tactical advice, guidance and coaching. Identify the need for staff resources, participate on staffing committees, and make effective recommendations regarding employee selection.
- Manage performance by establishing performance standards, reviewing and evaluating performance and conducting formal performance reviews on an ongoing basis.
- Assess staff training and development needs, and ensure that employees receive training required to improve and sustain successful performance.
- Investigate, address and resolve employee/labour relations issues, including disciplinary matters. Make decisions or effective recommendations on matters involving possible discipline, discharge and probationary termination.
Community Education and Development:
- Ensure the provision of community legal education, law reform activities and legal support to clients and client groups by:
- Producing materials for community education in the form of pamphlets, articles, manuals and self-help kits.
- Participating in the development and organization of outreach programs for specific groups.
- Acting as Clinic resource person for various community organizations.
- Preparing legal briefs and other law reform activities.
- Preparing a program of educational seminars designed for the client community, giving speeches, workshops, and other educational activities.
- Lobbying and advocating for law reform in cooperation with other clinics and groups.
- Participating in inter-clinic activities as appropriate
- Liaise with other legal clinics as appropriate to acquire knowledge to ensure the effective delivery of services to clients and students of the clinic.
- Conduct legal research and maintain knowledge of poverty law and various statutes and regulations in order to act as legal counsel on behalf of clients.
- Conduct client interviews, take instructions and provide legal advice.
- Prepare casework independently and/or assign specific tasks to students or staff, as appropriate.
- Prepare documents to represent clients before Courts and Tribunals.
- Represent clients before Courts and Tribunals.
- Report directly to the Executive Director, the Dean and LAO on financial, statistical and policy matters.
- Prepare and provide regular summaries of all clinic activities as required to the Executive Director, the Dean and LAO.
- Assist the Executive Director to develop policy positions for submission to the Dean and LAO; implement as required.
- Analyse data to develop broad strategies for the scope and nature of services and activities provided by QLA.
- Undertake other duties as assigned by the Executive Director in support of the Queen’s Law Clinics.
- LL.B. or J.D. degree.
- Called to the Bar and qualified to practice in Ontario – or -L1 membership in good standing in the Law Society of Upper Canada.
- Minimum five years of experience and familiarity with legal practice in areas relevant to QLA including:
- Social benefits appeals
- Criminal and POA matters
- Civil matters in Small Claims Court
- Employment issues
- Tenant rights
- Human rights
- Criminal injuries compensation
- Familiarity with community resources available to QLA clients.
- Experience in a managerial or leadership role. Demonstrated leadership, supervisory and strategic planning skills, with the ability to direct and manage teams and individuals to foster a team approach to the provision of services to clients.
- Experience in financial and business management.
- Knowledge of Legal Aid Ontario policies, procedures, and administrative systems considered asset.
- Familiarity with University policies, procedures, and administrative systems, and an understanding of the law school environment considered asset.
- Awareness of particular issues raised in poverty law practice.
- Teaching experience and knowledge of clinical/experimental learning techniques considered an asset.
- Strong interpersonal and communication skills, both oral and written.
- Strategic planning, financial management, budgeting and accounting skills.
- Change management skills with an ability to lead a participatory planning process, develop a vision and work with all stakeholders to ensure that vision emerges and is implemented effectively.
- Strong problem solving and negotiation skills, with an ability to analyze and respond to crisis situations.
- Leadership skills with an ability to supervise individuals of varied experience to ensure they meet required ethical and professional standards in the delivery of legal services to the public.
- Discretion in dealing with confidential materials and information.
- Initiative in acquiring new knowledge and keeping informed of changes in the law, and in the University and LAO communities.
- Strong IT and technological skills to record, analyze, and present and / or transfer information and recognize opportunities to apply technology to increase effectiveness and efficiency of the clinic.
- Solid professional judgment, discretion, and flexibility.
- Superior capacity to work on complex tasks, meeting deadlines despite many interruptions.
- Exceptional presentation skills.
- Attention to detail, coupled with good capacity to conceptualize, thinking creatively and strategically.
- Lead the consideration of operational decisions, policies and procedures for QLA, on both a day-to-day and a long-term planning basis.
- Make operational decisions on intake, supervision and management of client files.
- Select clients for QLA (establishing broad guidelines and then deciding upon applications from individual applicants).
- Decide upon appropriate referral information, when an applicant is rejected as a QLA client.
- Determine the legal services required by clients: deciding whether the work of student caseworkers is appropriate and adequate (giving initial direction and then closely supervising all research, correspondence and representation).
- On occasion, identify and respond to needs for emergency legal services, either personally or through delegation to student caseworkers.
- Lead the consideration of the content and instructional strategy of training programs for caseworkers.
- Lead the consideration of the content and instructional strategy of the clinic.
- Determine whether student caseworkers need specific counselling or guidance and decide how to offer this discreetly and effectively.
- Manage multiple, complex, simultaneous tasks; juggle priorities to meet changing, often competing deadlines.
- Allocate a continuous, stable and challenging workload for student caseworkers.
- Evaluate job candidates and make effective recommendations on suitable hires.
- Make decisions and/or effective recommendations regarding transfers and promotions.
- Evaluate employee performance and decide on appropriate training or coaching to address lack of proficiency in carrying out responsibilities, or remedial action for staff disciplinary situations.
- Assess investigation outcome of grievances and makes effective recommendations on appropriate course of action or next steps on grievances.
- Make effective recommendations on level of discipline up to discharge and probationary termination.