PBLA works with law firms in Alberta to develop and formalize pro bono policies. We recognize the commitment and tradition that Alberta’s lawyers and law firms have in providing pro bono legal services in a variety of ways. A law firm pro bono policy assists law firms to formalize and track this commitment.
Law firm pro bono policies are significant because they provide firms with the opportunity to:
- Institutionalize pro bono participation as part of a firm’s day-to-day culture;
- Transform pro bono ad hoc delivery to organized delivery, which in turn enables firms to make better use of their resources and serve more clients; and
- Develop administrative guidelines that acknowledge the value of pro bono activities, signify the commitment to pro bono work by these firms, encourage all staff to participate, and ensure that both fee-paying clients and pro bono clients receive consistent service.
PBLA has developed a pro bono best practice guide entitled “Investing in Pro Bono: A Best Practice Guide for Pro Bono Legal Services by Law Firms”. The Best Practice Guide contains appendices of sample templates of pro bono policies for small, medium and large firms. The guide is available in Word format which can be easily modified and adapted to specific law firm needs.
Several law firms in Alberta have developed or are in the process of developing a pro bono policy including:
Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP
Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
McCarthy Tétrault LLP
Law Firm Pro Bono Projects
One of PBLA’s roles is to broker pro bono projects between law firms and community organizations. PBLA matches community organizations with a client base in need of legal support with an interested law firm partner, resulting in exciting volunteer opportunities for solicitors and litigators. Through these partnerships, firms can bring the full range of their resources and expertise towards assisting clients of organizations. Partnerships provide a unique opportunity for firms to develop relationships with organizations that help low income and disadvantaged communities and assist in community economic development.
In the past, we have helped broker partnerships between law firms and community organizations resulting in projects such as legal advice clinics at the Women’s Centre of Calgary, the Genesis Centre, and Alcove Addictions Recovery for Women
If your firm is interested in developing pro bono policies and/or implementing a pro bono project, please contact us.