SUSTAINING AND EXPANDING PROGRAMS
From court-based walk-in centres, to childrens’ projects and charitable law resources, Pro Bono Ontario has an award winning roster of projects to help support low-income Ontarians and the communities and charitable organizations that serve them.
PBO coordinates and administers projects so that lawyers have easy and meaningful opportunities to help people in need. Our hope is to expand our flagship initiatives to other cities throughout the province. Our ambitious plans include the introduction of successful projects Law Help Ontario and Medical-Legal Partnerships for Children in northern and south-western Ontario centres.
EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGIES
Technology is a powerful enabler at PBO, helping to deliver critical legal information and self-help resources, and connect clients with service providers. Our online court form system has created thousands of documents and forms for unrepresented litigants in civil court.
Ontarians from as far away as Rainy River and Thunder Bay have received online, real-time information and referrals from Law Help Ontario staff members in Toronto. Expanding our use of technology to address additional gaps in service is an urgent priority.
INCREASING PRO BONO PARTICIPATION
Without volunteer lawyers there is no PBO. Since our founding in 2001, the number of pro bono lawyers has increased annually, and 18 of the 25 largest law firms in the province have adopted formal pro bono policies.
PBO is committed to continue to grow our recruitment and training efforts to respond to increasing demand, with a particular focus on underrepresented centres across the province. In support of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s new continuing legal education requirements, we also envision the development of a specialized CLE curriculum and practicum opportunities at Law Help Ontario.
MAKING IT EASIER FOR LAWYERS
One of the most important ways PBO supports its volunteers is by working with stakeholders to address barriers to participation. With careful research and planning, we have secured extended malpractice coverage for pro bono lawyers, developed law firm pro bono policies that count pro bono time as billable time, advocated for the adoption of emeritus rules to support retired volunteer lawyers, and addressed conflict of interest rules in court-based pro bono projects.
PBO supports the ongoing study of regulatory issues of relevance to pro bono activities, including limited scope retainer services and the delivery of remote legal services.