The Law Society supports pro bono work.

In addition to providing funding to organizations that support pro bono, the Law Society has made regulatory changes to encourage lawyers to provide pro bono services.

Providing funding

The Law Society provides funding, paid by a portion of lawyers' fees, to the Law Foundation of BC to support pro bono services and access to justice programs. The Law Society’s contribution in 2016 is $340,000.

Funding to the Law Foundation significantly increased in July 2013, when Benchers adopted a fixed sum model of contributing $340,000. The previous model contributes one percent of lawyers' fees, which totaled $217,040 in 2013.

Facilitating pro bono by changing conflict rules

The Law Society changed the rules on conflict of interest in 2013 to make it easier for lawyers to provide pro bono services at court-annexed and non-profit clinics. The rules permit lawyers in the same not-for-profit organization to provide limited legal services to clients that may have opposing interests, as long as information about each client is kept confidential.

For details, see Code rules 3.4-11.1 to 3.4-11.4 regarding conflicts.

Insurance coverage for pro bono work

To encourage pro bono work, the Law Society extends professional liability insurance at no cost to retired, non-practising or insurance-exempt lawyers (such as Crown Counsel) who perform pro bono legal services. Practising lawyers that pay the annual insurance fee also receive coverage for any claims arising out of their pro bono work. For details about insurance coverage, see the Information Sheet: Pro Bono Services