In another sign about the growing importance of provincial parole, I’m getting steady referrals from fellow defence counsel who want the best for their clients who are going in. Of course I’m also a defence lawyer in the other side of my practice, and I appreciate how sensitive it is to refer clients to another lawyer for things I can’t do. But it’s part of legal practice for everyone, and I appreciate and respect the trust that’s placed in me by my colleagues when they hand off their clients to me to sort out these new issues for them.
The simple fact is, no lawyer does everything. And parole is a specialized area of law. It’s amazing how small quirks and unexpected details in the system can make a huge difference in outcomes. And I’m always pleased to work with counsel for the best overall results. Defence counsel can do a lot of good in advance also, and make my job easier, by taking certain actions at sentencing and in advance of their client starting to serve time.
This is a topic that will continue. Parole once served a great and important function in our corrections system. It is nothing short of a crime (and I use that word carefully, as you might imagine) that the system was allowed to shrivel to the point where even experienced defence counsel barely paid attention to it or knew much about it because it was so pointless. We’ve turned a bit of a corner, and there is some cause for optimism right now. But that means it’s my job to spread the word not only among clients but among my colleagues as well. And the word is getting out there. So stay tuned. There may yet be some good news.