Pro bono comes from the Latin phrase pro bono publico (for the public good). For lawyers pro bono means the provision of legal services without expectation of fees or compensation.
What PBLO Does
PBLO was founded to expand the reach and impact of traditional pro bono services by organizing and coordinating the pro bono activities of the private bar. We try to make it easier for low-income Ontarians to find legal help and for lawyers to volunteer their time. We engage in four core activities:
1 .PBLO runs projects that serve three streams of clients: at-risk children and youth, unrepresented litigants with civil (non-family) matters and charitable organizations. In 2011, these projects served 13,758 clients.
2. PBLO brokers partnerships between law firms, law associations, and legal departments on the one hand and charitable organizations on the other. These partnerships are tailored to each group's unique interests and capacity. Ours is a facilitative role that creates frameworks for effective collaboration.
3. PBLO uses technology to help deliver critical legal information and self-help resources (like court form completion software) to the public, to connect clients with lawyers and to create environments where lawyers can focus on providing legal assistance instead of doing paperwork.
4. PBLO makes it as easy as possible for lawyers to provide free legal services to people who cannot access legal aid. We work with law firms, law associations and legal departments to develop policies that facilitate pro bono participation on an institutional level. We work with LawPRO (the profession's insurer) to promote best practices and extend malpractice coverage to our volunteers. We also work with the Law Society of Upper Canada to address regulatory barriers to participation and promote pro bono as a professional responsibility.