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UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Exploring a law firm business model to improve access to justice and decrease lawyer dissatisfaction Pilliar, Andrew

Abstract

Access to justice, particularly access to civil legal services, is a well-recognized problem for the Canadian legal system, with a recent estimate suggesting that 44.6 per cent of Canadians over the age of 18 – approximately 11.6 million people – have experienced a civil legal problem over the last three years, but also that less than 10 per cent of those individuals obtained legal assistance for that problem. Another problem for the Canadian legal system is the high rate of dissatisfaction among young lawyers – particularly the high rate of attrition among women and minorities. This thesis suggests a corrective for both these problems: an innovative type of law firm that provides accessible civil legal services while also providing an attractive work environment for lawyers. Through a case study of Pivot Legal LLP, a small firm formerly located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, this thesis examines whether it is possible to run a sustainable legal practice that includes providing legal services to low- and middle-income individuals. Based on this case study, there is reason to believe that an innovative law firm model that provides low cost legal services is possible and would be a useful contribution to other efforts to improve access to justice.

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