Each year, PBSC works with students across the country to let them give back to their community while gaining valuable experience in the legal profession. PBSC volunteers expand their legal research skills and gain practical, hands-on experience while exploring their interests in specific areas of the law. Through PBSC, we seek to instil the pro bono ethic - work for the public good - in law students so that they can continue public service as they enter the legal profession.
Why should I get involved?
Working with PBSC is rewarding on many levels. Not only does it give law students the chance to give back to their community, but it also gives them the chance to explore different areas of the law and to improve their legal research skills. For many first year students, PBSC introduces them to the various forms of legal writing, be it memos or policy papers. For upper year students, PBSC provides the opportunity to apply their legal knowledge and skills in a court setting doing client intakes and interviews or watching duty counsel in action.
As well, PBSC affords an unsurpassed networking opportunity. Because projects all have supervising lawyers, students have the chance to interact with a legal professional directly. In the past, some students have gotten reference letters from supervising lawyers that were particularly impressed with the quality of their work. For first year students, PBSC provides the opportunity to interact with upper year students and seek guidance from them. For upper year students, PBSC is a chance to develop mentoring and leadership skills. Our appreciation and community building events always offer free food and door prizes for our volunteers.
What is the time commitment involved?
PBSC understands that law school is a busy and hectic time and, as such, we ask our students to commit to roughly 3 hours of work per week for the entire school year. We do not ask our students to work during the months of December or April, as we realize that exams are stressful. We do, however, ask that our students make a commitment to complete their project by the end of March. With planning and good time management skills, most students find this easily manageable. Students are also asked to come to 2-3 community building events throughout the year and a training event in September. If students run into complications or unforseen circumstances that interfere with their work on the project, the coordinators are happy to help them find a solution.
How can I get involved?
If you are interested in being part of PBSC, we would love to have you! The application process begins in September, with an information session for first year students and a launch event for the entire law school. Students can find application forms by the Pro Bono office in September. There will be a mandatory training event for all volunteers following the launch and once the complete volunteer list is announced. Once students are accepted, they are placed with organizations in the community and will work closely with their project team and the coordinators to complete the project.