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:
This story is part our series on how Bay Street firms are getting better, from our Fall 2015 issue.