Before I started my own practice I spoke with a number of lawyers who went off on their own. One of these excellent lawyers, John Simpson, told me that the Law Society Referral Service (LSRS) was something that every new lawyer should sign up for.

The LSRS is a phone system run by the Law Society of Upper Canada. People who need lawyers call in and screening agents direct their call to a random lawyer who practices in that area (both legally and geographically). Lawyers must provide 30 minute consults (but not legal advice).

In the last month or so I've received three LSRS calls and each one was a great opportunity to help people (the reason I went into law).

Although two of the calls couldn't have resulted in business (not appropriate for involving a lawyer), I enjoyed hearing the problems and explaining the callers' options. If nothing else, the LSRS is an easy way for lawyers to share their knowledge of the legal system.

The Ministry of the Attorney General has a pretty good website for Small Claims Court but the Ontario legal system is still too complicated for many people. I consider every call to be an opportunity to help make the process a bit easier.

The LSRS is a fantastic service because it can result in business for lawyers and allows them to easily share their knowledge with people who otherwise couldn't access legal professionals.