WHO

WE ARE

"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.

 

LAW STUDENTS

 SERVING THE

PUBLIC GOOD 

College Library

OUR VALUES

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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

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OUR

PROJECTS

PUBLIC LEGAL EDUCATION
LEGAL RESEARCH
PROVIDE LEGAL INFORMATION FOR CLIENTS
CLIENT INTAKE AND DOCUMENT ASSISTANCE 

Megan Dawson

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. 

Julia Rottepel

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! 

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"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."

Marie-Claude Landry

Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission

PBSC

STATISTICS

 

EACH YEAR

1,600

LAW STUDENT VOLUNTEERS

130,000

HOURS OF FREE LEGAL SERVICES

400-500

ORGANIZATIONS, COURTS AND TRIBUNALS

14,000

LOW-INCOME CANADIANS ASSISTED

Meet The Team

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National

 

"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."

Nikki Gershbain

PBSC National Director 2010-2018

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GET INVOLVED

2020/2021 APPLICATIONS ARE NOW CLOSED! 

Thanks to everyone who applied! 

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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.

Nick Bala 

Professor, Queen's Faculty of Law

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OUR

EVENTS

JOIN US AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS

Sep 14, 2020

6:00 - 7:30PM

Joint Volunteer Information Session

Join us to learn more about our program and other great volunteer opportunities at Queen's Law! 

Who? All 1L's are welcome

Where? Zoom

Sep 25, 2020

5:30 - 7:00PM

2020 PBSC Launch Event

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! Introductory remarks from former Supreme Court Justice, the Honourable Thomas Cromwell followed by keynote speaker, Sunil Gurmukh.  

 

The Honourable Thomas Cromwell

Mr. Cromwell sat on the Supreme Court of Canada from December 2008 to September 2016 and on the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal from 1997 to 2008. From 2008 until 2018, he chaired the Chief Justice of Canada’s Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters.

His contribution to the legal community and society as whole has been widely recognized and he has received numerous awards, including his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Canada, the highest honour of the Order of Canada in December 2017, recognizing him as one of Canada’s most important voices on enhancing access to justice. He is currently an Access Pro Bono Board member in British Columbia and is a mentor for its Court of Appeal counsel project. 

Prior to his appointment to the bench, he was executive legal officer to Chief Justice Antonio Lamer from 1992 to 1995. Thomas also taught law at Dalhousie University and was active as a labour arbitrator. He began his career practising law in Kingston and Toronto.

Sunil Gurmukh

Sunil Gurmukh is a lawyer at the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) and Adjunct Research Professor at Western University's Faculty of Law.  Prior to joining the OHRC in 2011, he worked at the African Canadian Legal Clinic as a Staff Lawyer and articled at Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. 

 

He has worked on significant human rights cases at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario and all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.   He has a B.Comm. from Queen's University (2005) and an LL.B. from Western University (2008).  

 

He has been recognized for his human rights work as a winner of the 2016 Precedent Setter Award and 2017 Hennessy V.S.O.P. Privilège Award and member of Bay Street Bull’s 2017 Power 50 Guide.  Last year, he was named as one of country's top 25 most influential lawyers by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.

 

This year, he is partnering with Western Law to conduct the Hidden Racial Profiling Project.  

 

Follow him on Instagram @sunil_gurmukh 

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Sep 28, 2020

5:30 - 7:00PM

Legal Ethics & Professionalism Training Session

Who? PBSC student volunteers

Where? Zoom

Speakers to be announced

NOTE: Student volunteers must attend the Legal Ethics and Professionalism training session.

Oct 05, 2020

5:30 - 7:00PM

1L Mandatory Westlaw Legal Research Introductory Training

Who? 1L PBSC Student Volunteers

Where? Zoom

NOTE: WestlawNext Training is mandatory for all first year volunteers, as well as upper year volunteers on selected projects.

Oct 06, 2020

5:30 - 7:00 PM

Upper Year Mandatory Westlaw Legal Research Advanced Training

Who? 1L PBSC Student Volunteers

Where? Zoom

NOTE: WestlawNext Training is mandatory for all first year volunteers, as well as upper year volunteers on selected projects

Team Lead Drop-In Session

Who? Team Leads of PBSC Projects

Where? TBD

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OUR SPONSORS

PBSC's work is made possible with the generous support of our sponsors.

PRINCIPAL FUNDER

LAW FIRM PARTNER

IN KIND FACULTY SUPPORT

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NATIONAL LEGAL RESEARCH PARTNERS

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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

Kingston, ON

K7L 3N6

 

National Office Contact:

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