By Nicole Sarauer, Programs Director and Staff Lawyer, Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan
The 5th National Pro Bono Conference was held in Regina Saskatchewan, September 24th to 26th, 2014, in partnership by Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan, Access Pro Bono of British Columbia, Pro Bono Law Ontario, Pro Bono Law Alberta and Pro Bono Quebec. This year’s conference was a great success with over 150 attendees participating in a variety of interesting and engaging plenaries and panel workshops. The conference featured presentations by the Honourable Justice Cromwell, James Lockyer, and Richard Zorza.
Another highlight of the conference was the Canadian Pro Bono Awards Banquet, where awards were handed out to McKercher LLP, Duncan Marsden, and Connect Legal for their incredible pro bono work.
McKercher LLP is a Saskatchewan firm of about 60 lawyers with offices in Regina and Saskatoon. McKercher lawyers have been long-time volunteers with the Regina Free Legal Clinic run by Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (“PBLS”) and the legal advice clinic operated by CLASSIC. They have also been long-time supporters of Pro Bono Students Canada. McKercher was one of two Saskatchewan firms to launch the “Northern Initiative” project in partnership with PBLS, where lawyers provide legal advice to low income persons in northern communities using peer-to-peer technology. Congratulations, McKercher, on winning the Canadian National Pro Bono Law Firm Award!
Duncan Marsden is a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in its Calgary office. In addition to carrying on a busy practice in the areas of labour and employment, Duncan devotes a significant amount of time to pro bono work. Duncan provides pro bono services to many individuals with respect to matters that significantly impact their lives. Also notable is the pro bono work Duncan performs for non-profit organizations. Duncan provides ongoing services to organizations such as MitoCanada, an organization that provides support to help improve the quality of life for individuals with mitochondrial disease. Congratulations, Duncan Marsden, on winning the Canadian National Distinguished Service Award!
Connect Legal is an Ontario based organization that works to advance economic development in Canada by promoting entrepreneurship in immigrant communities. They assist these individuals by partnering with commercial law firms and community services to deliver accessible legal support. Connect Legal provides free workshops, resources and individual assistance to low-resource business owners. Since its inception in 2009, it has assisted over 1200 business owners. Congratulations, Connect Legal, on winning the Canadian National Pro Bono Program Award!
We would like to give a special thanks to everyone who attended the conference and the banquet this year. We also want to thank all of our sponsors for their gracious contributions. Thank you for participating and helping to make the conference’s first trip to Saskatchewan a success!