Law Society Referral Service

The Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) fills an important community need by connecting people looking for legal assistance with a lawyer or paralegal. If you're looking for a lawyer referral service or paralegal referral service, LSRS can help. For anything from dealing with a traffic ticket to buying your first home, you can find a legal representative with LSRS.

When you request a lawyer or paralegal referral online, we will give you the name of a lawyer or licensed paralegal who will provide a free consultation of up to 30 minutes to help you determine your rights and options, provided we have a match available.

With the Internet increasingly playing a role in making justice more widely accessible, the Law Society Referral Service makes it possible to obtain referrals online, 24 hours a day. 

You can start the process of obtaining a lawyer referral or paralegal referral at www.lawsocietyreferralservice.ca.

Please note: LSRS is unable to identify lawyers or paralegals who will work on a contingency basis or do work for free on a pro bono basis.

Frequently Asked Questions about the LSRS

How do I access the Law Society Referral Service?
Who can use the Law Society Referral Service?
Is there a cost for using the Law Society Referral Service?
How do I get a lawyer referral or paralegal referral?
I am in a crisis. Can I still use the Law Society Referral Service?
What are the benefits of LSRS?
What happens when I use the Law Society Referral Service?
I received a lawyer or paralegal referral and my consultation is all set up. What do I do now?
I asked LSRS to give me a referral. I met with someone but didn't feel comfortable. I would like to find someone else to work for me. Can I?
I have a simple legal problem and would like someone to write a letter for me. Can I ask someone to do this during my free half-hour consultation?

How do I access the Law Society Referral Service?

Access the Law Society Referral Service by visiting www.lawsocietyreferralservice.ca

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Who can use the Law Society Referral Service?

Our online lawyer and paralegal referral service is available to residents of Ontario.

Non-residents are not eligible for a referral, but are welcome to use the Law Society's Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to find a legal representative. (Note: Using the Directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with any lawyer or paralegal you find outside of LSRS.)

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Is there a cost for using the Law Society Referral Service?

No. The online request, the referral process, and your initial consultation of up to 30 minutes are free. The consultation is meant to help you determine your rights and options. You should not expect a legal representative to do any free legal work during this time — that is not the purpose of the consultation.

During the consultation, you may ask what it would cost to have your legal work done.

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How do I get a lawyer referral or paralegal referral?

LSRS is an online service. To make a referral request, start the lawyer referral or paralegal referral process.

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I am in a crisis. Can I still use the Law Society Referral Service?

Do not use our online referral service if you are in crisis (for example, if you are in custody). Please phone the Law Society Referral Service directly at 1-855-947-5255 or 416-947-5255 (within the GTA), Monday - Friday, between 9 am - 5 pm.

Please read the following carefully. When you use LSRS, we will give you a referral number and the phone number of a lawyer or paralegal. Call that person's office and provide your name, phone number, and the referral number. Someone will contact you within three business days to arrange for your consultation.

If you cannot wait up to three days for a lawyer or paralegal to call back and arrange a fixed time for your free consultation, or if it would be a problem for you to leave a call-back number, please contact LSRS by email at lsrs@lsuc.on.ca.

You may also wish to use our Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to help you find a legal representative. (Note: Using the Directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with any lawyer or paralegal you find outside of LSRS.)

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What are the benefits of LSRS?

The Law Society Referral Service will help you find someone who provides legal services in the area of law that meets your needs. The service can also help you find a legal representative who meets specific requirements, such as a lawyer or paralegal who speaks a certain language, or a lawyer who accepts Legal Aid certificates.

A lawyer or paralegal who participates in LSRS will offer you a free consultation of up to half an hour. This consultation may be over the phone or in person (the choice is up to them). During this consultation, you may ask:

  • How the law applies to your situation
  • How to use the law to solve your legal problem
  • How long the legal work may take
  • How much the work will cost

After the consultation, you can decide if you want to hire the lawyer or paralegal to work for you.

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What happens when I use the Law Society Referral Service?

Your online LSRS request will be processed immediately if there is a legal representative who matches the criteria you select. Before you make the request, please consider the following to help clarify your needs:

  • Are you planning to hire a lawyer or a paralegal? (If you don't know which, read Choosing the Right Legal Professional.)
  • Where in Ontario do you want them to be located?
  • What do you want your legal representative to do for you?
  • Are you planning to apply for Legal Aid? LSRS is available to Legal Aid clients, but paralegals cannot accept Legal Aid cases, and some lawyers do not take them.

You can also search for a lawyer or paralegal who can meet special needs, such as speaking a certain language or having an office that can accommodate a disability.

Once you have submitted your request, if a match is found, you will be given the name and telephone number of a lawyer or paralegal and a referral number. This information will be displayed on your computer screen, and you will have the option to send it to your email address. The legal representative will be given your name and phone number. (Note: If you ask for an email and you do not receive one, please check your email account's Spam or Junk folder to ensure the message was not filtered. Add lsrs@lsuc.on.ca to your address book to receive all LSRS emails.)

Call the person's office at the number you were given, then provide your name, telephone number, and referral number. Mention that you received their name and contact information from the Law Society Referral Service.

Someone from the office should call you back within three business days to arrange your free consultation. 

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I received a lawyer or paralegal referral and my consultation is all set up. What do I do now?

The lawyer or paralegal needs to hear your story. What happened? Why do you want to hire someone?

You can prepare for your consultation by considering the following:

  • Think about what you are going to say. Plan to explain your situation clearly and simply, starting from the beginning.
  • Gather together any papers that are important. Although the lawyer or paralegal will not review your documents during the consultation (since that is considered legal work), you may wish to have them with you in case you decide to hire them.
  • When you talk to the legal representative, speak openly. They need to know details, and sometimes personal information, in order to understand how the law applies to your situation.
  • During your conversation, you may want to write down a few notes. This may help later, when you are trying to remember exactly what was said in the consultation.

The consultation is meant to give you information about how the law applies to you, and to help you find out more about the lawyer or paralegal you're thinking of hiring. By the end of the consultation, you should know more about your legal options and how much it might cost to hire someone to work for you.

For more information see Your Lawyer and You - Frequently Asked Questions or Lawyers and Paralegals: Helping You With Your Legal Needs.

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I asked LSRS to give me a referral. I met with someone but didn't feel comfortable. I would like to find someone else to work for me. Can I?

You are under no obligation to use the lawyer or paralegal whose name you got from LSRS, nor is that person obliged to accept you as a client.

However, the Law Society Referral Service does not offer second referrals for the same legal issue. In other words, you may not use the LSRS referral process to get a second opinion on the same issue from a different legal representative.

You may wish to use our Lawyer and Paralegal Directory to assist you with finding legal help. (Note: Using the Directory does not guarantee a free consultation. You will need to discuss legal fees directly with any lawyer or paralegal you find outside of the LSRS.)

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I have a simple legal problem and would like someone to write a letter for me. Can I ask someone to do this during my free half-hour consultation?

No. During the half-hour consultation, the lawyer or paralegal's job is to discuss your legal situation and explain your options. They cannot write letters for you, or prepare any other documents as part of the consultation, since this is considered legal work. You can, however, ask how much it would cost to have the letter written for you.

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