Information for Organizations

Prospective Organizations

As a non-profit organization, you may have legal questions but lack the financial resources to compensate legal counsel. Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) volunteers have the skills and resources to research your legal issues at no cost to your organization. We will match you with students who meet the skill and interest requirements for your projects.

The goal of PBSC is to provide under-represented and disadvantaged communities with pro bono legal services and to give public interest organizations and agencies access to highly skilled and committed volunteers.

Possible Projects Include:

  • Legal research on an issue relevant to your organization’s work
  • Research on the impact of proposed new legislation
  • Drafting manuals and policy or background papers
  • Public legal education, including presenting workshops and writing brochures
  • Re-drafting of by-laws or updates to materials
  • Outlining areas of liability for your organization
  • Support for lawyers working on a case pro bono

What is Required of Member Organizations?

Placements must involve legal research suitable for a law student rather than a lawyer. Students are able to provide legal information but not legal advice. 

A practicing lawyer supervises each project. We usually require that the organization find a lawyer mentor for the students - if your organization has a lawyer on your board of directors, this is an ideal candidate for PBSC placement supervision.  However, if you are unable to find a lawyer, we can assist.

What to Expect

Placements generally run from mid-September to the end of March. Each student donates an average of 3 hours a week of his or her time throughout the school year, excluding December and April, when students will focus on exams.  Organizations and student volunteers are required to communicate periodically over the course of the placement to ensure that the students’ work is conforming to the needs of the organization as outlined in the project description.

At the end of the placement, organizations are asked to fill out an Organization Evaluation Form [Link to: Organization Evaluation Form] assessing the quality of the students’ work and of the PBSC matching process

Examples of Recent PBSC Projects

If you are unsure about the type of project that might qualify for a PBSC placement, please see the list below for examples of past projects completed by Pro Bono student volunteers:

  • Researching the rights and obligations of organizations with respect to employee abuse of their clients
  • Researching the legislation with respect to Level 1 young offender
  • Researching the impact of revenue generation on the charitable status of organizations
  • Interpreting municipal by-laws and translating them into an understandable format
  • Researching the law with respect to sexual harassment in the workplace and assisting in the planning and implementation of a research forum on the subject
  • Researching the obligations of organizations that provide residential services with respect to property and belongings left behind by residents
  • Researching the responsibilities of organizations with respect to information contained in their websites
  • Researching the duty of individuals to disclose their HIV positive status to potential sexual partners
  • Researching the concept of subrogation as it relates to automobile insurance claims
  • Assisting in the preparation of submissions to the Ministry of Health on draft legislation dealing with access to personal health information

If you require help designing a project, we are more than happy to meet with you to help with that process.

How to Get Involved

There is no cost to organizations to get involved with PBSC.

To get involved, interested organizations should review the Organization Information Package to familiarize themselves with the structure and requirements of the program.

If the organization determines that they qualify and would like to participate, the next step is to fill out a Project Description Form, an Organization Agreement Form and a Lawyer Supervisor Agreement and submit them to the PBSC Coordinators.

PBSC is wholly administered by law students – law students both coordinate the program and complete the legal research. As such, the program is unable to undertake projects that involve specific legal advice and cannot be legally responsible for any information provided. Please note that no organization, program, or individual may rely on a student’s work in taking any actions or forbearing from taking any actions that may subject the organization, program, or individual to legal or quasi-legal processes.

For more information, please contact the PBSC Coordinators.

Participating Organizations

Message from the Coordinators

Placements must involve legal research suitable for a law student rather than a lawyer. Students are able to provide legal information but not legal advice.

Dates, Deadlines and Events

  Program Launch Event
  Student Training Session
  Students and supervisors meet to establish a term work plan
  Students establish contact with supervising lawyer and discuss the term work plan
  Project work begins
  Students meet with Student Coordinators for project review meeting
  Community Event
  Term reports due from supervisors and students 
  First term exams - program suspended
  Students and supervisors hold project assessment meeting to establish goals for new term and review the progress from the previous term 
  Study Break: students may not be available for work during this period
  Appreciation Event 
  Final reports due from supervisors and students 
  Second term exams - all projects finished
May - August
  Student Coordinators wrap up projects and set up new projects for the following term.