"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.
2023/2024 APPLICATIONS ARE NOW OPEN!
Applications are due by 11:59PM on Friday, September 15th, 2023!
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
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
JOIN US AT THE FOLLOWING EVENTS
2023 PBSC Launch Event
When: September 20, 2023 5:00 PM – 6:15 PM EST EST
Who: All Queen’s Law PBSC Volunteers, PBSC Supervising Lawyers and Community Organizations
Come out and help us launch a new year of PBSC! The Honourable Justice Lucy K. McSweeney of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will be our keynote speaker.
Madam Justice McSweeney was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2016. She is chambered in Brampton, in the Central West Region, and presides in family, civil and criminal matters. Prior to her appointment Justice McSweeney was the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario for six years. She speaks regularly at judicial and other legal conferences on family law, civility and LGBT legal issues.
Justice McSweeney is a graduate of the University of Toronto (Honours B.Sc. in Botany) and Queen’s University (LL.B.). She was called to the bar in 1995 after clerking for the Court of Appeal for Ontario. That same year she won the title “Funniest Lawyer with a Day Job” in a comedy contest in Toronto (...coincidence?). Justice McSweeney joined the Ontario Public Service after five years in a small firm. Her practice areas included constitutional, human rights, labour/employment, administrative, Indigenous, and children’s law.
Justice McSweeney founded the Child and Youth Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association in 2014. She is a recipient of a “Leader to Be 2 Proud of” award from the LGBTQ organization Start Proud, and of the Ontario Bar Association’s Linda Manning Award for Volunteerism.
She is also a mother of two teenage children. An aspiring pickleball player, Justice McSweeney tries to stay fit by chasing the elusive creature known as the “Work-Life-Balance” (she caught it briefly in mid-2017 before it escaped again).
When: September 21, 2023 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM EST
NOTE: All student volunteers must attend the Legal Ethics and Professional Training session.
When: October 11, 2023 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM EST
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.
When: October 12, 2023 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM EST
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.
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