PBSC - Students

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.

Why participate in PBSC?

  • You will gain practical legal experience while working with public interest and non-profit organizations
  • You will have the opportunity to use your skills to make an important contribution to a not-for-profit organization
  • You will help provide access to justice for under-represented groups, which is an important community service
  • You will learn about career opportunities in public interest law

What kind of work can I do during my PBSC placement?

  • 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

What must I commit to?

  • You will be matched with an organization that meets your interests and goals. You have the option to accept or decline the placement.
  • Once you have accepted a placement, you are expected to contribute 3-5 hours per week during the school year (exam periods are excluded).
  • You must also participate in training sessions and complete periodic monitoring.
  • The pro bono work of law students must be uncompensated. This means that the student receives neither monetary compensation nor academic credit for work performed as part of this program.

How do I get involved?

(Please note we are not accepting applications at this time. Information on how to apply will be circulated in August 2019)

  • Fill out a Student Application Form and return it to the coordinators by email (probono@uottawa.ca) or in person at FTX 233. Please note that our placements are typically scheduled to run through the academic school year (from October-April).
  • Please feel free to contact us with any questions.

What are this year's PBSC important dates?

Please see the Important Dates section for more information.

What is the Richard Wagner Access to Justice Award?

The Richard Wagner Access to Justice Award was introduced in 2019 to recognize those select PBSC volunteers (at the University of Ottawa) who demonstrated the strongest commitment to ending Canada’s access to justice crisis. 

The award was named after The Right Honourable Richard Wagner, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada as he is a strong advocate for access to justice. At the 2018 PBSC Launch Event, the Chief Justice stated: "Ultimately, [access to justice] is about getting good justice for everyone, not exceptional justice for a lucky few. It’s a democratic issue, it’s a human right issue, it’s even an economic issue."

The public nomination process for the 2019-2020 academic year will be open in February 2020. Students, organization supervisors and lawyers supervisors are all invited to participate. 

Past Recipients

2018-2019: Nadine Tawdy
Ticket Defence Program / Programme de contestation des contraventions

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