Duty Counsel, Criminal (12 months)

July 9 2024
Industries Legal
Categories Criminal, Penal,
Toronto, ON • Full time

To provide duty counsel services, remotely and in-person, at the Toronto Courthouse, Toronto Regional Bail Centre or the Toronto South Detention Centre. The individual selected for this position will rotate between these locations and any other locations in the City of Toronto where criminal duty counsel services are provided.

A high-volume of clients with complex and varying needs seek criminal duty counsel services in Toronto, making for a demanding and challenging work environment for duty counsel staff. This position will appeal to a lawyer with experience in a broad range of criminal proceedings who can effectively navigate the demands of a dynamic and sometimes hectic workplace. The preferred candidate will be a self-starter with substantial criminal law experience in the private or public sector who is familiar with LAO criminal duty counsel services.

Home location: Ontario Court of Justice - Toronto, 10 Armoury Street
Secondary/Tertiary locations can include: the Toronto Regional Bail Centre at 2201 Finch Avenue West and the Toronto South Detention Centre at 160 Horner Avenue.

Reporting to: Manager, Legal Services

In addition to working with a team passionate about access to justice and making a difference in the lives of many of societies most vulnerable, LAO offers a comprehensive medical and dental benefits through Sun Life, an Employee Assistance Program through Telus Health and we are a member of the Ontario Public Service Pension Plan

• Provide high quality legal services in a cost effective manner.
• Represent clients for bail hearings, guilty pleas and remands both in-person and remotely.
• Courageous advocacy on behalf of clients who are often dealing with mental health issues, poverty, racism and homelessness.
• Liaise with stakeholders, including detention center staff, police division staff, Crown Attorneys, court staff
• and community agencies.
• Assist self-represented clients charged with criminal or quasi-criminal matters.
• Assess clients' needs in order to make referrals to appropriate community services. This includes the early identification of vulnerable clients to proactively offer referrals to support services.
• Provide legal advice to clients in or out of custody.
• Represent clients in specialty courts including Mental Health, Gladue, Domestic Violence, Drug Treatment, and Youth courts as required.
• When appropriate, represent clients in Crown pre-trial negotiations for purposes of resolution.
• Maintain up-to-date knowledge about criminal law and practice.
• Timely file management, as per LAO requirements (this includes using computer technology, smartphones and required software).
• Data collection, including timely recording of services provided.
• Remain adaptable and flexible in a changing environment.
• Identify and communicate risks to LAO.
• Punctual attendance at court or online to perform daily duties.
• Certificate referrals and referrals to other LAO services, as required.
• Facilitate knowledge-sharing and best practices amongst colleagues.
• Perform other duties and administrative tasks as assigned

• Lawyer in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario.
• Practical understanding of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
• Sound knowledge of the Criminal Code of Canada, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, Youth Criminal Justice Act, criminal law procedures, rules of evidence and relevant case-law.
• Previous experience in criminal law and strong advocacy skills in the Ontario Court of Justice.
• Experience representing clients with complex legal issues, including representing clients for bail hearings and guilty pleas. Trial experience and experience conducting bail reviews is considered an asset.
• Client-focused with excellent problem-solving skills and sound judgement.
• Experience working with marginalized and vulnerable clients.
• Ability to work independently and as part of a team in a fast-paced environment.
• Ability to learn and adapt to new or modified policies and procedures.
• Strong interpersonal skills - ability to work in a large team setting, relate to other staff and manage through conflict.
• Excellent communication skills.
• Capability with LAO programs including the Duty Counsel Worksheet (Service Integration), PeopleSoft and Legal Aid Online.
• Capability with Microsoft 365 programs (Teams, Outlook, Word, PowerPoint and Excel) and other computer-based programs such as Zoom, JVN and Skype.

Preferred skills & experiences:
• Significant criminal law court experience.
• Well-developed interview skills including a proven ability to identify vulnerable clients in order to provide appropriate service and referrals.
• Proven ability to document client files including advice to clients and instructions.
• Prior training, advocacy experience or demonstrated interest, in mental health, Indigenous, addictions, homelessness and youth issues.
• Proven ability to exercise sound judgment particularly when dealing with stressful situations.
• Knowledge and appreciation of the impact of criminal proceedings on immigration, family and other poverty law issues and the integrated nature of legal issues faced by LAO clients.
• Capacity to help train and mentor new staff/students.
• Knowledge of LAO's operations and mandate.
• Demonstrated ability to use latest communication technologies including Smartphones.
• Demonstrated commitment to social justice.
• French language, or other language skills is considered an asset.

To apply submit a cover letter & résumé.

This position is represented by The Society of United Professionals and the employee will be governed by the provisions of the collective agreement and union dues will be deducted bi-weekly from date of hire.

First Preference will be given to current members of the Society of United Professionals.

Please note that all applicants are encouraged to provide a valid email address for communication purposes. Applicants may receive written correspondence regarding this job posting directly to the email address provided on their resume or to the one used to set up their Candidate Profile if applying on Njoyn. As an applicant, it is your responsibility to ensure that you check your email regularly.

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Once you have successfully applied you will receive a confirmation email.

Trouble applying? For telephone support please call 1-877-427-7717 or email support: candidate.njoynhelp@cgi.com.

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