How PBLO and Bay Street are helping the worst off // Good News From Bay Street

Bay Street firms lend a hand to Ontario's children's hospitals

By Braden Alexander

On Wednesday September 9th, 2015


Plenty of lawyers in the Bay Street bubble truly want to use their skills to help the less fortunate. And since 2001, Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) has made it easy to do good by connecting big firms to those in need. And its programs have been a roaring success. Take just one recent example.

Starting in 2009 at SickKids, PBLO assembled an outfit of triage lawyers — a new breed of lawyer that offers free legal advice to families and patients. And today, they’re on-site at all five Ontario children’s hospitals. “They’re making a big difference in access to justice,” says Lynn Burns, executive director a PBLO.

All too often, she explains, sick children are from the poorest families. “So we’re bringing lawyers to their bedsides.” Still, triage lawyers (who work on-staff at PBLO) can’t do everything: some legal troubles need expert counsel. And so, some firms have stepped up, offering to take any work that triage lawyers can’t handle — which ranges from immigration to employment issues — free of charge. To date, they’ve helped more than 3,000 patients and their families.

Here’s a breakdown of which firms are on the case, and which hospitals they are helping:

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario,

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario

Children’s Hospital of Western Ontario, London
Lerners LLP, Siskinds LLP

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital

Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Toronto
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

McMaster Children’s Hospital

McMaster Children’s Hospital, Hamilton
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Ross & McBride LLP


SickKids, Toronto
McMillan LLP, Torkin Manes LLP, Bellissimo Law Group














Cover of the Fall 2015 Issue of PrecedentThis story is part our series on how Bay Street firms are getting better, from our Fall 2015 issue.