News Releases

For immediate release October 15, 2001

Members of the media are invited to attend this invitation-only event as guests of the CBA (B.C. Branch) and Law Society:

Lawyers and Free Legal Services — The Future of Pro Bono in B.C.

VANCOUVER – On October 19 and 20, 2001, B.C. lawyers and community groups will meet in an unprecedented forum to improve the delivery of free legal services for people who have limited means but who cannot qualify for legal aid.

Pro Bono Forum 2001 - for the public good is an invitation-only event hosted by the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch and Law Society of B.C., and funded by the Law Foundation of B.C.

Lawyers throughout B.C. have consistently donated many free legal services (known as "pro bono" services) to those in need who cannot qualify for increasingly restrictive access to legal aid. But the pro bono work of lawyers has never been coordinated with the community groups who need legal services or want to run their own legal advice programs. Pro Bono Forum 2001 - for the public good aims to develop the foundation for a new, coordinated approach to the delivery of pro bono services throughout B.C.

The Forum will be held at the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, 580 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. to noon. Detailed program at Guest Lounge or Featured speakers include:

  • Mike Harcourt, former Premier and founder of one of Canada's first free legal advice clinics (9:30 a.m. Friday)
  • Esther Lardent, President of the Pro Bono Institute, Georgetown University Law Centre in Washington, D.C. (10:45 a.m. Friday)
  • Chief Justice Donald Brenner of the B.C. Supreme Court (12 noon Friday)
  • Ron Daniels, Dean of Law at University of Toronto and founder of Pro Bono Students Canada (12:30 p.m. Friday)
  • Chief Justice Lance Finch, B.C. Court of Appeal (9:00 a.m. Saturday)

"Government budget cuts and legal aid underfunding impedes access to justice and creates a growing gap between those who can access legal services within their means and those who cannot," said Carman Overholt, CBABC President and Co-Chair of the Law Society/CBA Joint Pro Bono Committee. "Government has to do their part to fill that gap, but we also believe we can better coordinate the many free services lawyers provide now, to improve access to justice," said Peter Keighley, LSBC Bencher and Co-Chair of the Law Society/CBA Joint Pro Bono Committee.

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For more information, contact:

Caroline Nevin
Director of Communications
Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch

Brad Daisley
Public Affairs Manager
Law Society of B.C.