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To celebrate Access to Justice Week, each day of the week Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (PBLS) is sharing stories from our volunteers. All the volunteers featured this week are in-house counsel or work for the government. PBLS volunteers directly support low-income people in Saskatchewan who would otherwise not be able to access a lawyer.
Nicole Sarauer, Member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan
I have been volunteering with Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan for over a decade now, and almost exclusively at the Free Legal Clinics providing family law advice. The experience is both challenging and rewarding. The Free Legal Clinics brings a wide variety of people to them, but most of the folks I end up assisting are those leaving or trying to leave situations of intimate partner violence. One of the personal challenges I have at the Clinic is that, once that Clinic appointment has concluded, the individual leaves and I have no idea what happens to that person. Did they complete the documents I sent them? Were they able to file them? How did the matter get resolved? Faces of those who I have seen at the Clinics, with these questions, dance through my mind when I’m trying to get to sleep.
I’m happy to say that, since I’ve been at the Clinics for a while now and am often at community events, I have had a few occasions where people come up to me, remind me that I saw them at a Clinic, and report back on positive results from their matters. One time in particular, I was at Regina Folk Festival when a gentleman came up to me, introduced himself, and told me that his daughter had met me at the Clinic, and after we met, she was able to move out of a violent home, get an Order for custody of her son, and get some sense of stability in her life.
I am sharing this because the work at the Clinics matters. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you’ve made an impact. PBLS volunteers should know that their volunteerism does.
Nicole Sarauer volunteers on the Northern and Rural Free Legal Clinic as well as on the Solicitor Panel, Immigration and Refugee Panel, and General Panel.
Interested in volunteering? The Saskatchewan Lawyers’ Insurance Association (SLIA) provides coverage for volunteering with PBLS, even if you are exempt from paying. Learn more about pro bono and insurance coverage here. Learn more about PBLS by visiting pblsask.ca, email email@example.com or follow us here.