Pro Bono Students Canada - University of Toronto Chapter

"By being part of Pro Bono Students Canada, you are part of one of the most visionary undertakings I've seen in 40 years at the bar." 

                - Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella, Supreme Court of Canada

Who We Are

Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is a national multiple award-winning pro bono organization, with chapters in 21 law schools across the country. Founded in 1996 at the University of Toronto, PBSC is the only national pro bono organization anywhere in the world. Our mandate is threefold: (1) to provide early, practical learning experience for law students; (2) to provide high-quality legal services for our partners and their clients; and (3) to promote the value of pro bono service among the next generation of lawyers.

What We Do

Each year, PBSC places over 120 volunteer law students at the University of Toronto with public interest organizations, legal clinics, and lawyers working on pro bono files. Students perform a variety of law-related tasks including completing legal research, providing legal information to organizations, performing client intake and in some cases working on files for unrepresented litigants and appearing before courts and tribunals (under significant lawyer supervision). 

Across Canada, about 1,500 PBSC volunteers provide approximately 115, 000 hours of free legal services to between 400-500 organizations, courts and tribunals across the country. That’s equivalent to 62 people working full-time for a year!

PBSC regularly creates projects in the following areas of law: Aboriginal, administrative, civil, constitutional, corporate non-profit, criminal, environmental, family, human rights, immigration and refugee, union-side labour, and all areas of poverty law. We proudly serve diverse populations of Canadians including artists, First Nations, Francophone Canadians, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) Canadians, immigrants and refugees, low-income Canadians, seniors, women, and youth.

Why Volunteer with PBSC

Wide Range of Opportunities

In addition to the areas of law mentioned above, the University of Toronto Chapter has partnerships with over 50 organizations. Whether you came to law school knowing exactly what area you want to pursue, or are hoping to be exposed to something new, you are sure to find something at PBSC -- just ask any of our volunteers, 95% of whom said that they would recommend PBSC to other law students.  

Valuable Training

PBSC volunteers have many resources available to them. In addition to the general PBSC training, which students can attend on September 26th or 27th, volunteers can also develop their legal research skills at a training session hosted by Westlaw Canada. Not only does this ensure that students are comfortable accessing the resources available to them, but it complements the Legal Research and Writing course offered to 1Ls.

Personalized Guidance and Practical Experience

Students benefit significantly from the personal nature of our projects. Each placement has lawyer supervision and most of our projects take on one to four students. This means that our volunteers have the unique experience of working very closely with both the organization and an experienced lawyer on a weekly basis, who are passionate about what they do and strive to ensure that each student has an excellent experience.

Be Part of Something Bigger

A PBSC volunteer is placed with one project throughout the year, which means that they will get to know their organization and supervisor quite well. Despite working on different, individual projects, joining PBSC makes students part of a bigger pro bono movement. Since our inception, PBSC has been reminding students and lawyers of our responsibility to address the access to justice crisis in our communities. Volunteers come out of our program with an understanding of the value of the pro bono culture, with 85% reporting that they plan to provide pro bono services upon graduation. Read more about the impact we have from Alison Symington, the Acting National Director of PBSC, and Dean Iacobucci of the Faculty of Law below:

https://www.law.utoronto.ca/news/pbsc-directory-nikki-gershbain-and-dean...

Our Programs

Please see the short descriptions of all of the 2017-2018 General PBSC placements and Competitive PBSC placements offered.  

*Applications*

Applications for the Competitive PBSC placements are due on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5PM and can be found here.

Applications for the General PBSC placements are due on Friday, September 15, 2017 at 5PM and can be found here.

For More Information

To learn more about our mandate, history, and structure, or about other PBSC programs across the country, please visit the national website at: www.probonostudents.ca

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Contact Us

Pro Bono Students Canada does not assist individuals seeking legal advice. If you require assistance with a specific legal problem, see the Seeking Legal Advice page for services that may be of assistance.

For all inquiries relating to the Pro Bono Students Canada Chapter at the University of Toronto, please contact:

Luca Marescotti and Catherine Hart
U of T Program Coordinators
Pro Bono Students Canada
(t): 416.946.0397
(f): 416.946.3744
Email - probonostudents.utoronto@gmail.com
Twitter -  @PBSCToronto
Facebook – www.facebook.com/PBSCToronto

Sponsors

Principal Funder: The Law Foundation of Ontario

Law Foundation of Ontario

Principal Funder of the Ontario Family Law Project (FLP): Legal Aid Ontario

 Legal Aid Ontario

Law Firm Partner: McCarthy Tétrault LLP  

McCarthy Tétrault

National Legal Research Partners: Westlaw Canada, La référence

Carswell

La référence