Our Work

Each year, the University of Toronto PBSC Chapter places around 100 volunteer law students with public interest organizations, legal clinics, tribunals, courts and lawyers taking on pro bono projects. Students perform a variety of law-related tasks including completing legal research, providing legal information to organizations and individuals, and performing client intake.

Across Canada, around 1,700 PBSC volunteers provide approximately 135,000 hours of free legal support to between 400-500 organizations, courts and tribunals across the country. PBSC regularly creates projects in the following areas of law: Indigenous, administrative, civil, constitutional, corporate non-profit, criminal, environmental, family, health, human rights, immigration and refugee, union-side labour, tax, wills and estates and all areas of poverty law. We proudly serve diverse populations of Canadians including artists, First Nations, Francophone Canadians, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, intersex and two-spirited (LGBTQI2S) Canadians, immigrants and refugees, low-income Canadians, seniors, women, and youth.

PBSC National

History

PBSC was established in 1996 at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. At the time, it was the first and only pro bono organization in Canada. The visionary support of two key players—founding Dean Ronald Daniels and the Law Foundation of Ontario—were instrumental in launching the organization. Through the creation of PBSC, Dean Daniels aimed to combine education and public interest volunteer work, with the goal of ensuring that each new generation of lawyers would enter the profession committed to pro bono philosophy and practice.

Our Approach

Collaborative

We engage 1,700 law students annually to provide free legal information and services in partnership with community organizations and under the supervision of lawyers.

Visionary

We cultivate future leaders, advocates, and allies through training and experiential education opportunities.

Responsive

We create innovative programs to assist our Priority Communities to access and engage with legal systems.

Organizational Structure

The PBSC National Office is housed at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Each chapter is managed by one or more Program Coordinators who develop chapter projects, maintain and cultivate relationships with community organizations and lawyers, promote their PBSC chapters, organize and host events, and recruit, train and monitor law student volunteers. The Program Coordinators are law students. Each law faculty is responsible for the operation of its own PBSC chapter, including the chapter's finances, programs and projects, and employees.

For more information about our national program, please visit our website at: http://www.probonostudents.ca/.

University of Toronto PBSC Chapter

The University of Toronto Chapter was PBSC's founding chapter, having been launched in 1996. It is now home to approximately 50 distinct projects, collectively providing around 100 individual student placements. The Chapter and its projects are managed by two Program Coordinators with the assistance of Volunteer Coordinators and a Chapter Executive Committee.

The U of T Chapter routinely receives far more applications than it has placements available. In 2019-2020, 164 students applied, with 98 being placed on projects. Of these 98 students, 36 were upper-years.