Organized pro bono programs that match your available time commitment and area(s) of expertise are available and designed to make pro bono volunteering simple and effective. Simply fill out the Lawyer Profile (PDF) form and you can begin volunteering. Opportunities range from staffing clinics on the front lines to helping and supporting the work of other lawyers volunteering pro bono. At every step, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan is available to provide co-ordination and support as you engage in pro bono work.
The following are programs approved by PBLS, however new programs are continually under development and please contact PBLS if you are interested in developing a specialized project or program:
Clinic Program »
Panel Program »
Solicitor Program »
Mentor Program »
Support Program »
As a lawyer volunteering with the Clinic Program you are asked to attend regularly, usually bi-monthly (six times a year), at a free legal clinic to meet with low-income clients and provide advice and assisted self-representation in an area of law with which you are familiar. You are encouraged to take on full-representation pro bono files at your option, but generally refer clients in appropriate cases to the Panel Program for more in-depth assistance.
All lawyers who volunteer with a free legal clinic are provided a copy of the Free Legal Clinic Best Practices Guide and receive briefing in advance of their first clinic. Each clinic has a coordinator who may be contacted if any problems or concerns arise. Clients that attend at the clinic are pre-screened for income and conflicts in advance of each scheduled clinic.
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As a lawyer volunteering with the Panel Program, you will receive pre-screened referrals, generally one to five per year, depending on the type and complexity of the referral, which you may accept or decline. Referrals are made based on your expressed interest and area of practice after completing a Lawyer Profile (PDF). A conflict check is performed prior to a referral being accepted. Clients are referred to the Panel Program by Clinic Lawyers who have met with or reviewed the client's particular legal situation and determined that more in-depth assistance is required.
There is also the opportunity to volunteer with a specialized Panel Program. Specialized Panels are developed for particular sectors or court processes. Volunteering with these Panels often requires additional training or expertise and lawyers are asked to consider whether a Specialized Panel is an area of particular interest:
Child & Youth Panel
Criminal Appeal Panel
Immigration & Refugee Panel
Seniors Legal Assistance Panel
Residential Tenancy Program
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As a lawyer volunteering with the Solicitor Program, you will be matched with a charitable, non-profit or community organization of limited means through the Pro Bono Students Canada program where a law student will be available to provide research and assistance under your supervision. Matches are also made independently of the PBSC program outside of the academic year calendar.
Pro Bono Students Canada is a national movement of law students committed to public interest legal work. Through PBSC, law students enhance access to justice by providing free legal information and assistance to non-profit organizations and to lawyers working on a pro bono basis. Through a PBSC placement, volunteering entails supervising a project for an organization and assisting law student volunteers with developing a research plan at the outset of the project, providing guidance to students as needed over the duration of the placement, and reviewing the work of the student volunteer prior to submission to the organization to ensure completeness, accuracy and to provide suggestions for improvement.
The total time commitment required of a lawyer volunteer through PBSC is generally minimal. Most placements require only 5 to 10 hours for the entire course of the placement (spanning an academic year). Further, volunteering with Pro Bono Students Canada in Saskatchewan provides an opportunity to demonstrate to students, other lawyers and the local community the importance of volunteer work and the need for a strong commitment to a pro bono ethic within the legal profession.
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As a lawyer volunteering with the Mentor Program, you agree to make yourself available as a mentor to lawyers that are providing direct pro bono legal services. You can do this through Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan by completing a Lawyer Profile (PDF).
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As a lawyer volunteering with a Support Program, you do not provide direct legal services but engage in support services for lawyers who are providing direct legal services. This can include precedent preparation, clinic coordination, developing resources for pro bono lawyers, continuing legal education with respect to pro bono legal services and a variety of other contributions, including assisting PBLS directly. The Support Program is ideal for in-house counsel, public sector lawyers, or lawyers who do not wish to provide direct pro bono legal services.
Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan welcomes all individuals involved in the legal profession to advance access to justice and to increase the capacity of the legal profession to engage in organized pro bono programs. If you are a paralegal or legal assistant and wish to volunteer, please contact PBLS today.
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"Unlike child welfare legislation in most other Canadian jurisdictions, the current Saskatchewan child welfare legislation fails to explicitly make children parties to these court proceedings, regardless of age; fails to stipulate any clear authority for independent child representation to be ordered by the court; fails to set out any criteria for a court to consider before deciding on the value of such independent representation; and fails to ensure that there is a level playing field of uniform jurisdiction in all courts across the province to order such legal representation."
SASKATCHEWAN CHILDREN'S ADVOCATE
Children's Advocate Office Perspectives (PDF) »
Read more about the Child & Youth Panel »