Pro bono is a proud tradition of the legal profession. It is premised on the notion that everyone, regardless of ability to pay, should have access to the justice system. Lawyers, as members of a self-regulated profession, have both the responsibility and ability to ensure this access. “Pro bono publico” comes from a Latin phrase meaning “for the public good.” For the purposes of this guide, pro bono services are legal services provided without fee or expectation of a fee to:


• Persons of limited means who cannot otherwise afford them

• Cases that raise a broad issue of public or community concern that might not otherwise be pursued

• Non-profit organizations or community groups involved in representing disadvantaged or marginalized people


Pro bono services include legal advice, courtroom advocacy, drafting of legal opinions and documents, legal research, mediation, negotiation, law reform, community legal education and other legal services. Pro bono services generally do not include non-legal volunteer activities, professional development activities, client development or maintenance activities, or continuing legal education (The Path to Law Firm Pro Bono).


Pro Bono Students Canada and Pro Bono Canada (an umbrella organization made up of five pro bono charity houses in Canada) are excited to present The Path to Law Firm Pro Bono, a guide created specifically for law students to assess a prospective employer’s commitment to pro bono service.

We believe that pro bono work is a key component of any comprehensive access to justice plan, and law students across Canada are proudly displaying their commitment to their communities. Law firms have taken notice and many are now actively engaging in pro bono for a variety of reasons. Use this guide to help you gain a deeper understanding of prospective employer’s pro bono programs, policies and passion through tips and evaluation tools that you can apply before, during and after the interview process.

The Path to Law Firm Pro Bono was created through consultation with several career development professionals in Canada’s law schools, and with the assistance of the following law students:  Eric Hou (Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia), Michael O’Grady and Raeya Jackiw (University of Toronto, Faculty of Law).

Download your guide at the link below and good luck with your job search!

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