Montreal, February 21, 2019 – Last night, during a festive evening dedicated to gastronomy, Justice Pro Bono, Pro Bono Québec’s new name, celebrated its tenth anniversary. Ten years during which the Quebec legal community has demonstrated that it is committed to access to justice for all Quebecers. Under the honorary chairmanship of Caroline Poirier, Vice-President, Legal Affairs at TELUS and Daniel Desjardins, Senior Vice-President, Legal Affairs and Secretary of Bombardier Inc., guests could recall the organization’s accomplishments over the past decade.
Since its inception, Justice Pro Bono has been able to coordinate hundreds of interventions from law firms that adhere to the pro bono philosophy, thus demonstrating the involvement of lawyers in the community. After ten years, Justice Pro Bono is proud to have handled nearly 1,850 citizen requests and answered more than 15,000 requests for information to guide Quebecers through the legal maze.
Among the most high-profile cases, consider the recent case of Marie-Ève Maillé, a UQAM researcher called as an expert witness in a class action against a wind power project, who was successfully represented by a lawyer referred by Justice Pro Bono when the company targeted by the action wanted to force her to reveal the identity of the people she met in the course of research on the wind power project.
Making a fresh start while pursuing the mission
Designed by the Réservoir firm, the new brand retains the term “Pro Bono”, evoking the services offered voluntarily by lawyers from all regions of Quebec to give access to justice to the greatest number of people as possible, particularly the most disadvantaged. The signature “Volunteer Lawyers” also makes it easier to understand the services provided by the organization to its clients.
“With its refreshed visual elements and simplicity, the new brand better reflects the organization’s mission and we are confident that it will stand the test of time, allowing a greater number of Quebec lawyers and litigants to rally around it. We particularly appreciate the heart it contains because it represents the empathy and accessibility of lawyers who volunteer their legal expertise to people who could not otherwise afford it,” commented Nancy Leggett-Bachand, Executive Director of Justice Pro Bono.
Beautiful achievements with a promising future
Justice Pro Bono is looking forward to continuing its momentum in the coming years. The organization already has a track record of structuring projects to provide access to legal information and justice. Let us think of the first medical-legal partnership in Quebec set up at the Montreal Children’s Hospital almost two years ago, or the legal “clinics” dedicated to the most remote populations of the Far North, as well as the free legal consultations in partnership with Médecins du Monde. The Legal Compass, an essential research tool for disadvantaged clients with legal problems, has also been very successful, as has the Public Interest Cases Program for those who do not have access to legal aid.
Drawing on the lessons learned from natural, accidental or environmental disasters such as the sad episodes experienced during the Lac-Mégantic tragedy and the Pierrefonds floods, Justice Pro Bono is also working to set up, in the near future, a “legal crisis unit” that will mobilize the legal community. Lawyers in the regions concerned will thus be able to offer free time and expertise to people in precarious situations.