Pro Bono Students Canada (PBSC) is a national pro bono organization that connects law students with volunteer opportunities to enhance their legal skills and provide a service for their community.
In Sept. of 2017, TRU officially launched its chapter of the organization making it one of 22 universities in Canada to join the initiative. Student volunteers have the opportunity to be apart of projects that cover public legal education, legal research, client intake and document assistance, internships, and advocacy.
Jeneya Clark, a first-year law student who is currently volunteering with the MS Society, says she wanted to get involved because it was a good way to take what she was learning in class and put it into practice.
“I knew I would be learning a lot in the classroom and I really wanted to see how I would be able to bring that into the real world,” Clark said.
Judith Acevedo, a second-year law student who is also working with the MS Society, said she was interested in getting involved because of the volunteer aspect.
“I think it’s important to give back to the community. As law students we have the capacity to do that in a legal capacity and I really felt that that was important,” Acevedo said.
Acevedo says that in a typical day volunteering with the MS Society they are given clients and they help the client to appeal the application benefits packages that they have sent in.
“What typically happens is you are either in the role of talking with the clients and going over their symptoms in detail or you’re the one writing all of the information down for them,” Acevedo said.
Clark says that the clients she assists are very grateful for the help and that it means a lot to them.
“For us it might seem like a simple task to go through these forms and do the interviews and to help them. For them, because of the debilitating factors of their disease, it is such a hard task,” Clark said.
“I think in so many different ways it’s been an eye-opening experience for me,” Clark said. “My mom had been in a car accident, so she had to go through a lot of these forms.”
Along with being able to help others in the community, Clark ads that they learned a lot of valuable skills such as interview techniques, how to create the legal forms and people skills.
“I think it’s an amazing experience in a lot of different ways,” Clark said.
For more information or to learn how to get involved you can visit PBSC’s website https://www.probonostudents.ca.