"One of the most visionary undertakings I have seen in my 40 years at the bar.”
Supreme Court Justice Rosalie Abella
Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) envisions a society with accessible legal systems, where the dignity and rights of every person are upheld. Our mission is to provide free legal support to people and communities facing barriers to justice.
The Queen’s chapter of Pro Bono Students Canada provides a wonderful opportunity for students to grow personally and professionally. This kind of experiential learning is invaluable for them—but their work is also invaluable for their clients. Students engaged in pro bono work carry forward a long-standing tradition at Queen’s Law, and indeed of the legal profession generally, of serving the community by advancing the treasured ideal of ‘access to justice’.
Dean Mark Walters
By working with PBSC, you improve your skill set, you make very valuable contacts while networking, and most importantly, you enhance the reputation of the justice system.
Doing pro bono work is an investment in your own profession’s public credibility and reputation.
Justice Harvey Brownstone
As volunteers with the ID Clinic, we assist homeless and marginally housed individuals in the Kingston area in obtaining government issued identification including health cards, birth certificates and Ontario photo cards. Without the Clinic, many of our clients would not be in a position to easily obtain the forms or pay the processing fees required, preventing them from accessing essential services and resources that we may take for granted every day.
Through this experience, I have had the pleasure of working alongside two local lawyers who dedicate their time to serving our community. Working with these lawyers to interview and advise our clients has allowed me to develop many of the skills necessary to be a successful lawyer. Most importantly, I have gained a better understanding of how to effectively assist and communicate with clients from vulnerable populations.
As a student, volunteering with PBSC has made me recognize the importance of promoting access to justice and providing quality legal services to all clients, a sentiment I will hold throughout my professional career.
Ross Denny - Jiles
We often hear about the principle of “access to justice”. Simply put, it’s the idea that no matter their life situation, every person should have the ability to have their case heard by the courts. It is an essential facet of both a democratic society and the rule of law.
Pro Bono Students Canada provides our students with the opportunity to directly help in extending access to the justice system to the most vulnerable members of our community. As we work towards a more equitable society, this is a crucial endeavour. Our students also benefit from the chance to work in small teams on the practical application of the concepts and skills we learn in our classes.
Having this kind of opportunity in law school is essential because it provides practical experience and shows students how much impact we can have—even before graduating. Hopefully, our experiences this year are the start of a lifelong practice of pro bono service.
As a first year student overwhelmed with work, PBSC gave me real world experience that created context and purpose for my studies. First year focuses so much on case studies but my experience at PBSC showed me that my legal skills aren't only valuable in a courthouse. Working with my co-project manager and my PBSC supervisor to create an ID Bank illustrated how my legal skills can help people in situations that aren't strictly legal.
PBSC also gave me the opportunity to learn about Kingston and use my knowledge to better the community I live in. This is a lesson I hope to take with me throughout my career! PBSC brought balance to first year, not tp mention a lot of learning experience, and I can't wait to get back to work!
"At the heart of Pro Bono is access to justice. Pro Bono is about putting the keys to justice directly into the hands of people who need it the most. That's why I consider all of you guardians of justice in our country - and why I believe your work is happening at a critical time."
Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission
LAW STUDENT VOLUNTEERS
HOURS OF FREE LEGAL SERVICES
ORGANIZATIONS, COURTS AND TRIBUNALS
LOW-INCOME CANADIANS ASSISTED
"There is something incredibly inspiring and hopeful about working with large numbers of law students who are committed to using their legal qualifications to try to make their world a better place."
PBSC National Director 2010-2018
It is important for law students to recognize that they have a privilege and an obligation to give back to those who are disadvantaged.
PBSC work is both socially rewarding and professionally valuable.
Professor, Queen's Faculty of Law
JOIN US AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS
2021 PBSC Launch Event
When: September 21, 2021 7:00 – 8:30PM
Who: All Queen’s Law Students, PBSC Supervising Lawyers and Community Organizations
Where: Zoom CLICK HERE TO REGISTER TO RECEIVE A ZOOM LINK
Come out and help us launch a new year of PBSC! The Honourable Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed of the Federal Court will be our keynote speaker.
Justice Shirzad S. Ahmed was was born in Kirkuk, Southern Kurdistan and lived in the Middle East and Europe before coming to Canada as a refugee in 1984. Prior to his appointment, Justice Ahmed was a sole practitioner in Calgary, practiced exclusively in the areas of immigration, refugee, human rights and civil liberties.
Justice Ahmed is dedicated to the pursuit of social justice. He is a strong advocate for the protection of human rights internationally, and is invested in mentoring students and junior members of the legal profession in the areas of immigration, refugee, human rights and civil liberties such that Canada will continue to set the standard for global human rights practices. Justice Ahmed equally believes in the importance of community service. He acted as a student advocate for students in need at both the University of the Fraser Valley and Simon Fraser University; he served as a member of the Board of Governors at the University of the Fraser Valley, appointed as community representative by the Province of British Columbia; and served as a member of the Board of Directors for Fig Tree Foundation, a Calgary-based non-profit organization seeking to assist and coordinate international humanitarian relief.
In 2009, Justice Ahmed was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence, Alberta’s highest award. In 2008, he received the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award for Pro Bono Legal Service. He is the recipient of several honours from the University of the Fraser Valley, including the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011, Top 40 Alumni Award in 2014, and a Doctor of Laws Degree (honoris causa) for his dedication in defence of human rights in 2015. Justice Ahmed is fluent in several languages.
Legal Ethics & Professional Training Session
When: September 29, 2021 7:00 - 8:30PM
NOTE: All student volunteers must attend the Legal Ethics and Professional Training session.
Upper Year Mandatory Westlaw Legal Research Advanced Training
When: October 4, 2021 1:30 - 2:30PM
Who: Upper Year PBSC Student Volunteers
Where: Microsoft Teams
NOTE: A representative from Thomson Reuters will provide a workshop on tips and best practices for legal research. This is mandatory for all upper-years on research projects and optional for those who are not.
1L Mandatory Westlaw Legal Research Introductory Training
When: October 6, 2021 4:00 - 5:00PM
Who: 1L PBSC Student Volunteers
Where: Microsoft Teams
NOTE: A representative from Thomson Reuters will provide a workshop on tips and best practices for legal research. This is mandatory for all 1L volunteers.
GET IN TOUCH
Please note that Pro Bono Students Canada cannot provide you with legal advice
613-533-6000 ext. 74635
Faculty of Law, Queen's University
Macdonald Hall, 128 Union Street