The Law Society is seeking lawyer volunteers who are willing to provide pro bono independent legal advice to lawyers who are considering entering the Health Recovery Program.

The program offers a remedial alternative to the discipline process where the lawyer’s conduct or practice concerns are related to health conditions such as addiction, depression or other mental health issues. Participation in the program is voluntary and may be accompanied by conditions or practice restrictions. The lawyer will be asked to provide written consent to be referred to a healthcare provider and will later be asked to enter into an agreement with the Law Society that would set out the terms and conditions for participation. It is recommended that the lawyer obtain independent legal advice to review their rights and obligations under the written consent and agreement with the Law Society.

A lawyer may already have their own legal counsel; however, if they do not, the lawyer will be referred to a roster of legal counsel who have volunteered to provide pro bono legal advice to lawyers considering the program. The decision to enter the Health Recovery Program may be a difficult one, as many lawyers may be apprehensive for a variety of reasons. The offering of pro bono independent legal advice from a volunteer will help provide additional support to these lawyers.

This commitment will involve:

  • Reviewing the consent form and draft agreement for participation in the program with the lawyer and advising the lawyer of their rights and obligations under these documents.
  • Advising the lawyer of the consequences of entering the program and what happens if they complete their treatment, if they do not complete their treatment or otherwise fail to comply with the terms and conditions of the agreement.

This pro bono work is limited to advising the lawyer on the decision to enter into the Health Recovery Program. The volunteer commitment would not apply to legal services or advice where:

  • the lawyer opts not to participate in the Health Recovery Program and instead chooses to undergo the usual discipline process – the lawyer would hire legal counsel in the ordinary course for representation;
  • the lawyer enters the Health Recovery Program but partway through opts to leave – the lawyer would also need to hire legal counsel if their matter is referred back to the usual discipline process.

All lawyers entitled to practice law in Manitoba are welcome to apply to volunteer for this program. Experience in administrative law and/or advising on regulatory matters will be considered an asset.

Anyone interested in this volunteer opportunity is invited to contact the Law Society’s Health Recovery Program coordinator, Elaine Kinchen at 204-926-2039 or