The Advisory: Volume 10, Issue 3, July 2012

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Why it’s Important for Lawyers to Provide Pro Bono Legal Services

By Frederica Schutz, QC, Director, Pro Bono Law Alberta and Bencher, Law Society of Alberta

Over half of the legal profession in Alberta provide some pro bono legal service delivery to individual Albertans, the Law Society of Alberta’s consumer legal usage survey identified.

It also showed that 74 per cent of lawyers outside of Edmonton and Calgary have provided pro bono legal services.

The legal profession in Alberta has a culture of providing pro bono legal service delivery. With the launch in 2007 of the Law Society’s centennial legacy project, Pro Bono Law Alberta, awareness of the importance of providing pro bono legal service is growing among lawyers in the province.

Pro Bono Law Alberta’s vision is “creating and promoting pro bono opportunities for Alberta lawyers.” Its mission is “to improve access to justice by increasing the scope and availability of pro bono legal services to Albertans of limited means. Pro bono legal services are intended to complement, not to replace, a properly funded legal aid system.”

Three of the key reasons why it is important for lawyer

  • Pro bono legal service delivery provides a foundation of equality and justice, ensuring that everyone has access to legal services, especially those who need services the most but cannot afford it.
  • It improves and plays a vital role in ensuring access to justice for all Albertans.
  • Providing pro bono legal service is a way for lawyers to give back to those who need their services the most.

for Alberta lawyers to discharge their professional responsibilities to provide pro bono legal services.

Lawyers enjoy the privilege of being able to participate in providing access to justice. Today, lawyers have the opportunity to provide pro bono opportunities, either informally or through the legal aid system or to act as volunteers in the many clinics or through the opportunities offered through Pro Bono Law Alberta.

Pro Bono Law Alberta is actively working to raise awareness of the resources available to lawyers who are able to provide pro bono services. The opportunities being created provide greater ease, flexibility and efficiency for all lawyers to participate in access to justice.

Whichever path each of us chooses to take in the delivery of pro bono legal services, we can all play a part in providing access to justice for all Albertans.

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