Information for Organizations
PBSC is a national pro bono student organization with a mandate of providing legal services without charge to organizations and individuals in need across Canada. In furtherance of this mandate, PBSC matches law student volunteers with community organizations, firms, courts, and tribunals under the supervision of qualified lawyers.
What are the goals of PBSC?
For organizations: to provide underrepresented and disadvantaged communities with pro bono legal service and to give public interest organizations and agencies access to highly skilled and committed volunteers.
For law students: to encourage students to volunteer in their communities and install a pro bono ethic among law students. To give law students practical experience and assistant them in assessing viable career options in public interest law.
How can PBSC help your organization?
If your non-profit organization has legal questions but lack the financial resources to compensate legal counsel, PBSC may be able to partner with your organization and match you with law students who meet the skill and interest requirements for your projects.
What is required of member organizations?
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.
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.
Student’s work must be supervised by a lawyer. If your organization does not have a lawyer on staff, PBSC can assist in finding a lawyer to supervise the student’s work at no cost to you.
What kind of projects can students undertake?
- Client intake and interviewing
- Contribute to advocacy work
- Draft manuals for internal use at your organization
- Perform public legal education, including presenting workshops and writing brochures
- Produce policy or background memorandums
- Provide legal information for clients
- Support for lawyers working pro bono on a particular case
- Research legal issues relevant to your organization’s work
- Update materials, including conducting by-law research
- Research pending legislation, legal issues or current policy questions
- Pro-actively monitor pending legislation, legal issues or current policy questions
What can't law students Do?
The law student volunteers are not qualified as lawyers, do not have professional liability insurance, and are restricted from providing legal advice or otherwise holding themselves out as lawyers or legal professionals. While PBSC requires that your organization’s project be legal in nature, students cannot give legal advice to clients, and may only provide legal information to your organization or to those your organization assists. Students cannot draft by-laws or contracts for your organization.
What can organizations expect of PBSC?
- PBSC will provide you with a qualified law student(s) who will provide you with approximately 3-5 hours per week of legal services (as described above) without charge.
- PBSC will assist you, if necessary, in finding a qualified lawyer supervisor to supervise the project and the student’s work.
- PBSC will monitor your student’s progress and address any problems or concerns you have with the project or work in a timely fashion.
- Your student will complete the project as set out in the timeline or notify PBSC promptly of any concerns or delays they encounter.
What PBSC expects of organizations
- Organizations are expected to complete all necessary forms given to the organization by PBSC.
- Organizations must ensure that their expectations surrounding the project are clearly set out and understood by PBSC prior to the commencement of the placement.
- Organizations must ensure that each project has an insured Lawyer Supervisor available to the student(s) over the course of the project. If you do not have a lawyer working for your organization, we can help you find a qualified lawyer supervisor.
- If the insured Lawyer Supervisor is not a staff person of the organization, the organization must ensure that there will also be a designated Project Supervisor available to the student(s) over the course of the project.
- The designated Project Supervisor must check on the student(s) progress throughout the placement so that potential issues are discovered pre-emptively. If a problem does arise, the organization must ensure that the Project Supervisor contacts the PBSC Coordinators.
- The organization must make efforts to integrate the student(s) into the organization, and provide an appropriate workspace, resources and other applicable materials where necessary.
- Organizations must complete and return all program evaluations provided by PBSC in a timely fashion.
- Organizations must make themselves available once per semester to provide feedback about the progress of the project. These monitoring reports will take place during the months of November and February.
How can I Get Involved?
There is no cost to organizations to get involved with PBSC. To get involved, interested organizations should reach out to the PBSC Program Coordinators at firstname.lastname@example.org. If an organization and their proposed project are well-suited for PBSC, the next step is to fill out a Project Description Form, Organization Agreement Form, and a Lawyer Supervisor Agreement. The Program Coordinator will provide you with these forms.
Our programs start in October and end by beginning of April, please contact the PBSC Program Coordinators for more information.
What are Important Dates for PBSC?
Please see the Important Dates section for more information.