Students' FAQ

What are the benefits of joining PBSC?

As a PBSC volunteer, you will gain valuable hands-on practical experience related to client contact, legal research and writing, and more. Not only do PBSC students receive specialized research training from Thomson Reuters WestlawNext Canada every October, but they also benefit from the mentorship of a lawyer supervisor who oversees their work. Furthermore, a volunteer experience with PBSC is a chance for students to learn from the clients, communities and organizations with which they are working. Pursuant to PBSC’s values, students will learn the importance of practicing law with humility, advancing equity in society, and recognizing the dignity of all participants in diverse legal systems within Canada.

I’m an LLM or combined program student (JD/MBA, JD/MSW, etc.). Can I participate?

Absolutely! PBSC invites all students at the Faculty of Law to apply for a placement that suits their interests, even if it is their year "away" from the Faculty of Law. 

What types of projects can I do?

PBSC facilitates a wide variety of projects, which usually fall into one of the following categories:

Client Intake and Assistance Projects: These involve sitting down with clients of partner organizations or clinics to collect their personal information and the facts of their case, and in some cases providing them with legal information or helping them complete court forms or other documents. These projects tend to be most suitable for upper-year students.

Legal Research and Writing Projects: These include reviewing and monitoring pending legislation, writing legal memos or analysing current policy questions, and writing for media such as newsletters or blogs.

Public Legal Education Projects: Students develop and deliver legal education materials (e.g., FAQs, info sheets, etc.), workshops, and seminars to people and communities facing barriers to justice. Students aim to provide legal information in an accessible format about a particular area of law.

Internships: In an internship, a student volunteer is placed with a highly regarded non-profit organization to perform a series of discrete legal tasks throughout the program year, supervised by a lawyer. Students will also have opportunities to observe the operations of the organization and to be integrated into the organization as an “intern.”

Advocacy Projects: Advocacy projects allow student volunteers to represent clients before tribunals and courts, under close lawyer supervision.

Where could I be placed?

PBSC facilitates projects with dozens of organizations serving a diverse range of communities. Additionally, our Program Coordinators develop new projects every year. Check out our Projects to see the fantastic organizations that we work with.

How much time do I have to commit?

Students are expected to volunteer for 3-5 hours per week from October to March, excluding the month of December. Students are also expected to attend two mandatory lunchtime training sessions: a general PBSC training session and a Thomson Reuteurs WestlawNext Canada training session (the latter may be optional for upper years). The dates of these sessions will be communicated in the Fall once students are placed with a partner organization.

Will PBSC interfere with my exams?

No. PBSC placements do not run during December and April. Your PBSC commitment should not get in the way of studying for exams and your academic success. 

What does the typical timeline look like?



Early September

Mid September

Late September

Launch Event & Information Session

Applications Due

Offers for positions are made

Attend one mandatory General PBSC Training Session (offered on two different dates)

Attend FLP Training if enrolled in the FLP program

Late Sept. - October

Mid October or TBD


Submit your work plan (if required by your project) and begin work at Placement

Attend one WestlawNext Training Session


Participate in a Monitoring call to provide an update on your placement and report any feedback

Potential Community Building Event


Break for Exams


Placements start again 

Potential Community Building Event


Complete Project/Final Deliverable by the end of March

Participate in a Monitoring call to provide an update on your placement and report any feedback

Attend Volunteer Appreciation Event (Chief Justice Richard Wagner Awards)


Break for Exams

How do I get involved as a student volunteer?

Applications for PBSC take place in September. Please keep an eye on our Applications page and our social media (available via the icons in our footer) for more details.

Are there other ways to get involved?

Yes! PBSC hires paid Program Coordinators (Summer & School Year and School Year positions) in February, and recruits volunteers for our Executive Committee in the summer. PBSC's National Office also hires and recruits students for its National projects, which support families in crisis or transition, Indigenous peoples, LGBTQ2S+ communities, and newcomers to Canada. Please note that holding some of these positions may preclude you from holding a student volunteer placement at a community organization. To learn more, keep an eye on our social media (available via the icons in our footer) or contact us.

Applications for PBSC take place in September; other opportunities will be posted on UTLC or advertised via the Careers Office. Please keep an eye on our Applications page and our social media (available via the icons in our footer) for more details. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.