Stéphanie Côté is the 2023 recipient of the CBA’s Legal Aid Leader Award

  • May 10, 2023

Stéphanie Côté of Sherbrooke, Quebec, is the 2023 recipient of the Legal Aid Leader Award for her long-term commitment to legal aid and to providing accessible and affordable legal services to the population.

She was chosen by the CBA Access to Justice Subcommittee for this award, which recognizes lawyers who have made a significant contribution to providing access to justice to people in need. She is the first lawyer from Quebec to win this award.

StĂ©phanie CĂ´tĂ© obtained a Bachelor’s degree in geography from UniversitĂ© de Sherbrooke in 1995 and a Bachelor of Laws from UniversitĂ© du QuĂ©bec Ă  MontrĂ©al in 2000. She was called to the Barreau du QuĂ©bec in 2002. After a few years in community legal centres working in youth law, she started working in private practice in the same field in 2004.

Most of her cases are mandates remunerated according to the Quebec legal aid tariff, and it has always been important for her that the most disadvantaged people have the right to quality legal services regardless of means. She has trained other lawyers in several regions of the province on billing under the Quebec legal aid tariff. Through that training, she has encouraged lawyers to accept legal aid mandates and helped ensure they receive adequate remuneration for the services rendered.

As the President of the Association des Avocats et Avocates de Province (AAP), she has worked with the Independent Task Force on the Reform of the Legal Aid Tariff Structure on the shortcomings and the modifications that should be made to the legal aid tariff. She is currently a member of the executive of the Independent Legal Aid Tariff Committee.

She has always been very involved in her legal community. She is a Board Member of the Barreau de St-François since 2004 and has been its treasurer since 2009. She has also been involved in many Young Lawyers regional and provincial associations, and became the President of the AAP in 2020, an association that she led throughout the difficult years of the pandemic.

She believes in the importance of mentoring her younger colleagues, encouraging them to accept legal aid mandates to provide quality legal services to the most disadvantaged people in society. She hopes that by her work, she can help inspire and highlight lawyers who devote their talents and time to helping people in need.