Pro Bono Students Canada celebrates the 20th anniversary of its Family Law Project
January 11, 2018
To celebrate this important occasion, PBSC will be hosting a FLP volunteer reunion on February 8th in Toronto. Everyone who has been involved in the FLP over the years is invited to attend.
Founded in 1997, PBSC’s Family Law Project is a multiple-award winning program that now operates in 12 cities across Canada, engaging over 150 passionate law student volunteers each year. In Ontario, we operate the program in partnership with Legal Aid Ontario (LAO). In the last three years alone, the Ontario FLP has served over 4,000 unrepresented litigants across the province, providing assistance with almost 13,000 court forms. But the FLP’s value is not just reflected in numbers — having students in court to assist provides dignity to individuals who are overwhelmed and confused by the court process. With assistance from FLP students, unrepresented litigants have the opportunity to be genuine participants in their cases and to engage meaningfully in the justice system. Armed with a better understanding of the family court process and professionally drafted forms, they are better equipped to navigate their court matter.
The Honourable Justice Robert Spence of the Ontario Court of Justice recently said of the FLP anniversary:
… our court has long been a supporter of PBSC for three reasons. First, it provides the students with a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to clients and the real world of family law litigation. Second, the material that the students prepare for the clients assists the judges to better understand what the clients are about, what they are seeking, and why they are seeking the particular relief. Third, and most important, the students are able to help the poorest, generally the most disadvantaged persons who attend court. Without the help of PBSC, these persons would often find themselves flailing helplessly, without a lawyer and certainly without any real understanding of the court process.
For all of those reasons, I myself was an early participant as a lawyer volunteer when PBSC was just getting underway.
We all do what we can in order to contribute to making family law litigation just a little bit less stressful for people who are not otherwise able to hire their own private counsel. All of the students who do this work should take tremendous pride in what they do.
For twenty years, law students, lawyers, judges and community service providers have collaborated to provide legal services to family litigants through PBSC’s FLP. In celebration of this milestone anniversary, PBSC and Thomson Reuters are planning at Family Law Project Reunion! Did you volunteer for the FLP when you were a law student? Have you been involved as a lawyer supervisor or community partner? PBSC wants to hear from you!
Space is limited so FLP Alumni are encourage to RSVP for the Family Law Project Reunion and 20th Anniversary Celebration without delay. Visit http://bit.ly/2E6SZGa to register.