APB staff Jimmy Yan studies client referral gap for pro bono family law services

Access Pro Bono has long been concerned by the relatively small number of case referrals made from its summary advice clinics to its representation programs. APB’s Project & Information Officer Jimmy Yan set out to research why such referrals are not being made in proportion to legal needs, and how to encourage more clinic lawyers to make referrals.

Jimmy’s research used telephone interviews to explore the diverse settings of pro bono legal services for issues of family law. He interviewed 82 randomly selected APB clients who sought legal advice in family law in 2016. He used the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework to diagnose APB’s linear program model for family law clinics. Based on interview responses, Jimmy’s study used a statistical model to identify significant effects of factors on how clients access legal services, i.e., gender, age, email usage, abusive relationship, education level, family law issues, emotions, prior consultations with other lawyers.

Ultimately, Jimmy recommended that APB enhance the quality of client case preparation prior to clinic consultations, and client case assessment during clinic consultations. He also recommended that APB give more attention to family law issues associated with financial support and children to pave the way for more successful referrals and representation. Last but not least, Jimmy encouraged APB to communicate these research findings to its community partners to help create and inform a multidisciplinary services network.

You can access the full text of Jimmy’s research paper at http://www.accessprobono.ca/sites/default/files/FAM_YAN_20170520.pdf