New pro bono opportunities for BC lawyers

Pro Bono Law of BC (PBLBC) has broadened the range of its services and developed flexible pro bono opportunities for BC lawyers through three new roster programs:

  • Family Law Program — volunteer lawyers assist low-income individuals with family law issues involving divorce, separation, mediation, custody, access, guardianship and child support. John-Paul Boyd of Aaron Gordon & Daykin is the Program Coordinator.
  • Federal Court of Appeal Program — volunteer lawyers assist low-income individuals appearing before the Federal Court of Appeal when it sits in Vancouver.
  • Judicial Review Program — volunteer lawyers assist low-income people who seek judicial review of tribunal decisions by the BC Supreme Court.

Angus M. Gunn, Jr. of Borden Ladner Gervais is the Program Coordinator for both the Federal Court of Appeal Program and the Judicial Review Program.

PBLBC’s work on the Judicial Review Program is possible thanks to a two- year grant from the Law Foundation of BC to cover disbursements.

In each of these programs, PBLBC will accept screened client referrals from front-line pro bono organizations, such as the Western Canada Society to Access Justice and the Salvation Army BC Pro Bono Program. These client referrals will then be offered to volunteer lawyers on its roster according to their location, stated interest and capacity.

Volunteer lawyers can choose how and when they are able to provide pro bono assistance — from basic help on single, discrete issues to full-service representation of a client. Program information sheets and referral forms are available on the PBLBC website at www.probononet.bc.ca.

PBLBC is planning other roster programs in early 2006 — including a Solicitors’ Program for those willing to assist community organizations with discrete tasks, such as board governance, drafting of bylaws and policies or advising on particular employment and human rights matters. PBLBC invites senior practitioners to offer to serve as the volunteer Program Coordinator for the Solicitors’ Program.

If you would like to volunteer for a roster program or would like more information about other pro bono opportunities, please contact Jamie Maclaren, PBLBC Executive Director, at 604 893-8932 or by email at jmaclaren@probononet.bc.ca.