PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline depends on volunteer lawyers to ensure that low-income Ontarians get the help they need with everyday civil legal issues that aren’t covered by Legal Aid.
What Does Volunteering Look Like?
To volunteer, just sign-up in advance for a shift on a date that works for you. On the day of your shift, you’ll answer calls from your own home or office through PBO’s online platform. Shifts can be full-day (9-5, with a one hour lunch) or half-day (9 am to 1 pm or 1 – 5 pm), and you can pause your phone line between calls to take short breaks as needed. Calls last up to 30 minutes and there is no follow up work.
Volunteers help callers understand the nature of their legal problems, interpret documents, respond to letters, improve draft documents, and make informed decisions or take next steps on their own.
When you sign up to volunteer, you decide which areas of law to assist with. The Hotline covers:
- civil procedure
- small claims
- consumer debt & protection
- powers of attorney
- corporate law for charities, non-profits and small businesses.
PBO’s Hotline does not offer services in family law, immigration law, or criminal law.
What Support is Provided for Volunteers?
The Hotline provides a wide range of live support for volunteers. Although services are remote, PBO staff are available throughout your shift to help with whatever needs may arise, whether technological or substantive. We offer:
- Orientation and technology guides provided in advance of shifts
- Extensive FAQs and knowledge resources written for lawyers by lawyers
- Real-time staff and volunteer interaction via chat for help with substantive and procedural questions
- Real-time IT support
- Extended malpractice coverage for lawyers who volunteer for our programs. Click here for more information about LawPRO’s pro bono coverage.
- Mitigating licensing fees for retired lawyers or lawyers in the 25% and 50% fee categories
- Enhanced conflicts of interest exemptions
Other Ways to Give Back
Are you a member of a firm or legal department? Learn about making a lasting impact through our 100%A2J Leadership Circle.
Unable to volunteer time at the moment? Consider a financial contribution instead. Learn more about donating.
Don’t Think Corporate Lawyers Can Do Pro Bono? Think Again
If you ask a highly skilled corporate lawyer why they’re nervous about volunteering through PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline, you will often hear a more or less diplomatic version of: “I practice in a very niche area of law and couldn’t possibly help someone with a real problem.” The irony is that the exact traits that make some corporate lawyers hesitant […]