Pro Bono - Lawyers

What are the goals of PBSC?

For organizations and lawyers: to provide under-represented and disadvantaged communities with pro bono legal services and to give public interest organizations and agencies access to highly skilled and committed volunteers.

For law students: to encourage students to volunteer in their communities, to provide students an opportunity to put their skills into practice, and to assist law students in assessing viable career options.

What kind of work can students undertake?

  • Client intake and interviewing
  • Contribute to advocacy work
  • Draft manuals for internal use at an organization
  • Perform public legal education, including presenting workshops and writing brochures
  • Produce policy or background papers
  • Provide legal information for clients
  • Provide litigation support to lawyers working pro bono on a particular case
  • Research legal issues relevant to an organization’s work
  • Update materials, including conducting by-law research

Why does PBSC need you?

  • PBSC at the University of Ottawa (Common Law) is presently expanding its operations, due to an increase in demand from both students and community organizations.
  • We are seeking practicing lawyers to participate in our advisor program to help law student volunteers who are engaged in pro bono work for public interest organizations.
  • All student work must be supervised by a practicing lawyer. Many of the smaller community organizations with which we work do not have a lawyer on staff or on their board of directors. When an organization has no access to a mentor, PBSC must be in a position to recommend a member of the bar to act as mentor for the project.

What are the benefits of your participation in the PBSC program?

  • Mentoring allows you to contribute to the development and well-being of our community as you will be providing pro bono services to those in need of them.
  • You will contribute to the development of our law students who will gain invaluable practical experience from this unique introduction to the legal profession.
  • It is a wonderful opportunity for you and/or your employer to create bonds with future bar members and community organizations.
  • PBSC can also help you with litigation support and background legal research for your pro bono cases.
  • In some cases, the hours you spend supervising a PBSC project may be used for CPD credits. Please consult the Law Society of Upper Canada for more information.

What is the commitment involved?

  • If you chose to become involved with PBSC, your name will be added to a roster of lawyers who have expressed interest in serving as advisors.
  • If a student working on a project in your area of specialization/interest is in need of a supervisor, we will contact you to see if you are available.
  • Student projects usually last from October until April. During this time advisors serve as a source of guidance for the student. They also review the final output of the student’s work.
  • The average time required from lawyers who are serving as advisors is between 5 and 10 hours per year.

How you can become involved

  • Lawyers can become involved with PBSC in two ways:
  1. If you are working pro bono on a particular case, our students can support you in your work by doing legal research and writing. We will match you with a dedicated student who matches your skill and interest requirements. Please contact our program coordinators to find out more about the ways in which a student volunteer can help you.
  2. Lawyers can volunteer to act as an advisor to a student doing a pro bono placement.
  • Complete a Lawyer Advisor Profile Form and submit it to the PBSC program coordinators (probono@uottawa.ca) or contact the program coordinators who will be happy to answer any questions, mail you an application, or visit your office to discuss your involvement.
  • Program coordinators will contact you to serve as an advisor on an "as needed" basis.
  • You will also be invited to participate in our events, which will give you an opportunity to meet the students, organizations and other lawyers involved in PBSC.
  • Please let your colleagues and friends know about us as well.

What are this year's PBSC important dates?

Please see the Important Dates section for more information.

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