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Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan (PBLS) is a non-profit, charitable organization that is not funded by the government. PBLS operates two main programs: (1) the Free Legal Clinic program and (2) the Panel Program. All PBLS services are aimed at serving Saskatchewan residents who cannot access the services of a lawyer through other means. Our office is dedicated to serving every individual that is in contact with our office, whether or not they are eligible for our programs. In addition to our main programs, PBLS also provides quality referral and emergency advice directly from the PBLS office.
Free Legal Clinics
Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan operates 12 Free Legal Clinics across the province. The Free Legal Clinic Program matches volunteer lawyers with low-income clients in order to provide up to an hour of free legal advice and assistance. Clients may book follow up appointments. The purpose of the program is to provide individuals with the necessary legal expertise and guidance to effectively address their legal needs without lawyer representation.
Currently, clinics operate in the following locations: Regina Free Legal Clinic, Regina Family Law Walk in Clinic, Regina Small Claims Clinic, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Moose Jaw, Estevan, North Battleford, Meadow Lake, La Ronge, Weyburn and Yorkton. In addition, PBLS supports the work of the Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic in operating the Lloydminster Free Legal Clinic and AJEFS in providing the Regina French Legal Clinic. If a client is unable to attend in one of those 12 locations, they will be offered an appointment over the phone or via video conference.
PBLS recognizes that up to one hour of free legal advice is not enough to meaningfully assist some clients with their legal matters. Our Panel Programs were created to assist clients outside of the one-hour Free Legal Clinic appointments. Through Panel Programs, individuals and eligible non-profit organizations are matched with volunteer lawyers who have expressed interested in providing presentation in a full or limited-scope capacity.
Clients and organization are eligible for the Panel Programs if they possess a meritorious legal matter and are likely to experience extreme difficulty self-representing due to the complexity of the matter or for reasons such as language or literacy barriers, cognitive or physical disabilities, etc.
PBLS currently operates the following panel programs:
Clients are first vetted through our income eligibility test. If the client meets our income guidelines, out intake staff then discuss the client’s legal matter and needs. The client is then booked an appointment at one of our Free Legal Clinics with the appropriate lawyer for their area of law and in the most convenient location. Clients are also referred to supplemental programs while waiting for an appointment.
There are several ways to get involved. We have opportunities for private practitioners, in-house counsel, public sector lawyers, solicitors, articling students and retired lawyers. We have organized pro bono programs that can match your available time commitment and area(s) of expertise.
Free Legal Clinic Program
Volunteers with the Free Legal Clinic Program are booked on a bi-monthly (six times a year) schedule at a Free Legal Clinic. At the Free Legal Clinic you will meet with low-income clients. You will be asked to provide legal advice and assistance in your preferred area(s) of law. You are not obligated to represent anyone at the clinic or assist outside of the appointment time.
We are actively seeking lawyers that may provide advice for family law, SGI matters and who are interested in prison law. We are also actively seeking lawyers who practice in Regina, Weyburn, Estevan, Meadow Lake, La Ronge, Humboldt, Melfort or Tisdale areas.
Volunteers with the Panel Program will receive pre-screened referrals, generally 1-5 per year, which you may accept or decline. Referrals are made based on your expressed interest and areas of practice. A conflict check is performed prior to a referral being accepted. Clients are referred to the Panel Program by Free Legal Clinic volunteer lawyers or PBLS staff who have met with or reviewed the client’s particular legal situation and determined that more in-depth assistance is needed.
PBLS provides an opportunity for articling students to provide legal assistance to clients who are dealing with a residential tenancy matter. You can learn and practice civil litigation skills by assisting a client through the Office of Residential Tenancies process, including negotiating with a landlord, preparing hearing documents and advocating for clients at a hearing.
Inactive, Retired or otherwise Insurance Exempt Law Society Members
The Law Society of Saskatchewan offers a Pro Bono Membership for those who wish to solely practice law in a pro bono capacity. There is no charge for a Pro Bono Membership, and no charge for CPD training. Lawyers with a Pro Bono Membership may only practice law through an approved pro bono program, such as Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan. For more information, please contact our office or contact the Law Society of Saskatchewan.
We encourage employers and law firms to get involved in improving access to justice in Saskatchewan by signing the pro bono pledge. The pledge is a voluntary pro bono standard where places of business allow use of firm resources for pro bono files and recognize the worth of pro bono work by allowing for billable hour recognition of a lawyer’s first fifty hours of pro bono service annually.