6th National Pro Bono Conference: Innovations in Action

Wednesday, Sept 28

6:00 – 7:00
Welcoming Reception – Supreme Court of Canada, The Hon. Andromache Karakatsanis

Thursday, Sept 29

8:00 – 9:00
Registration & Continental Breakfast
Welcome – The Hon. George R. Strathy, Chief Justice of Ontario
Opening Plenary - A National Approach to Pro Bono
As Canada’s pro bono organizations mature, they develop the capacity to create partnerships that have national scope and impact. This session will showcase opportunities for collaboration on issues such as how to provide emergency relief, how to work on a national and provincial level with regulators to create model rules that encourage pro bono, and efforts to develop a law firm directory for law students that creates a virtuous circle between recruitment and robust law firm pro bono programs.
Dennis O’Connor, Pro Bono Canada, Moderator
Kendall Moholitny,, Pro Bono Law Alberta
Nikki Gershbain, Pro Bono Students Canada
Claire Hunter, Access Pro Bono British Columbia
Nathan Benson, Refugee Sponsorship Support Program
Concurrent Workshops

Stream 1
Self-Represented Litigants: Programs that Make Self-Help Meaningful
Pro bono programs, in partnership with the courts, the judiciary and the private bar, are delivering vital services that help thousands of self-represented litigants every year better navigate the justice system. This session will look at models, both mature and developing, that are making our justice system work for people who cannot afford a lawyer.
Matt Cohen, Pro Bono Ontario, Moderator
Deputy Judge Heather Williams, Small Claims Court of Ontario
Ranjan Agarwal, Bennett Jones LLP
Jennifer Leitch, Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Malcolm Mercer, Law Society of Upper Canada
Stream 2
Medical-Legal Partnerships: The Big Picture
The Medical-Legal Partnership (MLP) movement has grown considerably over the past eight years. This session will discuss the key components of successful MLPs in the Canadian context. Particular attention will be paid to best practices for identifying and cultivating hospital champions, leveraging pro bono partnerships and aligning legal care and health care strategies at the staff level.
Deborah Templer, Gowlings WLG, Moderator
Anca Kimel, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Lee Ann Chapman, Pro Bono Ontario
Mihiri Perera, Pro Bono Ontario
Stream 3
Wills and Estates
Wills, Powers of Attorney for Property and Personal Care and Advance Care Directives are important tools that help Canadians, regardless of income, maintain personal dignity, self-determination and quality of life. This session will profile a number of innovative Wills and Estates pro bono programs. Particular attention will be paid to nuts and bolts issues, including training, risk-management and community outreach.
J.S. (Bill) Basran, Department of Justice, Moderator Canada
Maria Molloy, Department of Justice Canada
Matthew Wiens, Pro Bono Ontario
Heather De Berdt Romily, Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
Afternoon Plenary – Meeting the Needs of Rural and Remote Clients
Far too many Canadians must overcome barriers to justice that include distance, poor transit options, insufficient childcare, age and disability. As we work to develop a roadmap to increase access to justice for Canadians, we can learn from recent developments in the US to overcome the same barriers. We will hear about how the adoption by the Conference of Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators of the aspirational goal of 100% access for persons with civil justice issues is impacting programs and services.
Malcolm Mercer, Pro Bono Ontario, Moderator
John Greacen, Self Represented Litigants’ Network
Concurrent Workshops

Stream 1
Self-Represented Litigants: Courtroom Duty Counsel Programs
As the number of self-represented litigants rises across the country, many courts can now anticipate that a number of self-represented litigants will appear on various dockets. This gives rise to an important opportunity to develop pro bono duty counsel programs in which lawyers appear in those courts, sometimes as amicus curiae, to ensure that self-represented litigants are properly heard. In this session, participants will learn about various models for delivering this duty counsel service and gain a strong sense of how they simultaneously enhance both access to justice and the administration of justice.
Matt Cohen, Pro Bono Ontario, Moderator
Timothy Fitzsimmons, Dentons
Erin Pleet, Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP
Priyan Samarakoone, Access Pro Bono BC
Nonye Opara, Pro Bono Law Alberta
Stream 2
Outreach Legal Services
Poverty, stress and marginalization are both the cause of people’s legal problems and the reason many do not seek help. Outreach Legal Services – services that are embedded in environments people already use and trust – create opportunities to reach previously unserved populations. This session will profile programs that are reaching people in hospitals, at schools and at soup kitchens.
Lynn Burns, Pro Bono Ontario, Moderator
Dr. Sue Bennett, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Cerise Latibeaudiere, George Weston Ltd.
Heather Innes, General Motors
Sophia Ruffolo, BMO
Stream 3
Corporate Pro Bono: Clinic Model
Brief services aren’t just for self-represented litigants anymore. When structured properly, corporate pro bono clinics can address an array of previously unmet legal needs and can effectively engage corporate and in-house lawyers who are seeking meaningful opportunities. This session will profile cutting edge programs that are supporting the charitable, arts and small business communities.
Gordon Baird, McCarthy Tetrault, Moderator
Matthew Wiens, Pro Bono Ontario
Kate Culver, Miller Thomson LLP
Michelle Henry, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Carolina Henriquez-Schmitz, Thomson Reuters Foundation
5:30 – 6:30
Reception, Sponsored by the County of Carleton Law Association
6:30 – 9:30
Awards Dinner; Keynote – James J. Sandman, CEO, Legal Services Corporation

Friday, Sept 30

8:00 – 9:00
Continental Breakfast
9:00 – 10:30
Plenary – The Latest in US Law Firm and In-House Pro Bono
Featuring profiles of innovative programs and law firm-corporate counsel partnerships south of the border.
Barbara Grossman, Dentons (Moderator)
Elizabeth Dewey, DLA Piper (Washington DC)
Ben Weinberg, Dentons (Chicago)
10:30 – 12:00
Concurrent Workshops

Stream 1
Medical-Legal Partnerships: Building Resources and Capacity
This session will focus on how to start, grow and strengthen a Medical-Legal Partnership. Particular attention will be paid to strategies for building strong relationships and communicating program goals and impacts to funders and supporters.
Yonit Fuhrmann, Pro Bono Ontario, Moderator
Nancy Leggett-Bachand, Pro Bono Quebec
Adina Goldberg, Pro Bono Ontario
Stream 2
Pro Bono Clinic Models
A surprising number of people’s unmet legal needs can be resolved via brief services. This session will profile a number of innovative pro bono clinics throughout the country.
Kara-Dawn Jordan, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan, Moderator
Jimmy Yan, Access Pro Bono BC
Debbie Klein, Edmonton Community Legal Clinic
Brian Houghton, Pro Bono Ontario
10:30 – 12:00
Managing Partners’ and General Counsel Round Table (by invitation only)
Gordon Baird, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Moderator
Salvatore Frisina, George Weston Ltd.
Paul Belanger, Blake Cassels and Graydon LLP
12:00 – 2:00
Lunch – Hosted by the OBA with Guest Speaker The Hon Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario