Through our program, PBSC law student volunteers are placed with community organizations, where they have the opportunity to enhance their legal skills by providing free legal services to communities in need in Canada.  PBSC volunteers have a genuine passion for public interest work, and a commitment to increasing access to justice in our local community.  Our hope is that we are creating a generation of law students who will enter the legal profession with a commitment to providing some of their legal services free of charge.

 

What can a PBSC student do for my organization?

PBSC deliverables vary depending on the needs of your organization and/or the project you require assistance with.  Our students can:

  • research pending legislation, legal issues or current policy questions;
  • pro-actively monitor pending legislation, legal issues or current policy questions;
  • draft policies or manuals for organizations;
  • develop and deliver public legal education workshops and seminars to low and middle-income individuals; and
  • help provide legal information to the clients of partner organizations.

How many hours can a volunteer PBSC student work?

PBSC students commit to working to 3-5 hours per week, beginning in October and ending in March. Students should not be asked to work during the months of December or April due to university examinations.

What are my responsibilities as a PBSC partner organization?

Organizations are responsible for identifying an insured Lawyer Supervisor available to the student(s) over the course of the project, as well as a Project Supervisor if the lawyer is not a staff person of the organization. Project Supervisors are expected to check on progress and commit to communicating any issues that may arise to the Program Coordinators. Lastly, organizations take part in our monitoring process in November and March, and fill our evaluation forms at the end of the year. This information is critical and helps us to continually improve our program and to ensure that our partners are satisfied with all placements.

If you do not have a lawyer working for your organization, we can help you find a qualified lawyer supervisor.

I don’t have appropriate work space for a student. Does the student have to be on-site?

No. Organizations should provide appropriate work space and resources if possible, but many of our students work remotely since their research does not require them to be on site. That being said, organizations should make efforts to integrate the student(s) into the organization through other means, such as events, since there will be less face-to-face contact.

What can I expect from PBSC?

Once your project has been approved, we commit to providing you with a qualified law student who will volunteer to provide legal services for approximately 3-5 hours per week without charge. If you do not have lawyers on staff, we will assist you if necessary in finding a qualified lawyer supervisor to supervise your student’s work. Lastly, we monitor all of our students closely and will address any problems or concerns that may arise in a timely manner.

Can I request a student with a particular skill-set (e.g. language requirement, course prerequisite, etc.)?

Yes. You may indicate on the Program Description Form that you would like a student with a particular academic or professional background and we will do our best to accommodate your request. Please indicate if it is preferred or a requirement.

Can I choose my student?

Unfortunately due to many practical and capacity-related reasons, all recruitment and matching is performed by the U of T Program Coordinators. Students are matched based on their interest and relevant experience, but a separate interviewing process by organizations is impossible due to our firm timelines. If you have any concerns, please contact the Program Coordinators who would be happy to discuss what characteristics you seek in a strong candidate to ensure that you receive a student compatible with your organizational needs.

How do I create a PBSC placement?

If your organization would benefit from a law student volunteer, please contact our Program Coordinators. You may also wish to peruse the following documents which have additional information about PBSC and guide you through the process of creating a PBSC placement.

  1. What You Need to Know When Working with PBSC: A Reference Guide for Organizations (PDF)
    This document outlines the roles and responsibilities of PBSC, our students, and your organization. 
  2. Project Description Form (PDF)

The deadline for submitting a Project Description form for the year 2016-2017, is July 15th 2017. Please contact us to discuss any new projects prior to filling out this form. Organization Supervisors must all sign the Organization Agreement Form and submit it to the Program Coordinators.

Contact Information

For general inquiries about the PBSC University of Toronto Chapter, please contact the Program Coordinators:

Greg Drozdzal
U of T Summer and School-Year Program Coordinator
Pro Bono Students Canada

Ellie Minchopoulos
U of T School-Year Program Coordinator
Pro Bono Students Canada

Email - probonostudents.utoronto@gmail.com