In a recent article for Canadian Lawyer, Gillian Marriott, executive director of Pro Bono Law Alberta encouraged lawyers working as in-house counsel to consider providing pro bono legal services. Corporate counsel sometimes hesitate to consider pro bono work, not due to any lack of empathy for the plight of those who need legal services they can’t afford, but because of a sense of distance from and unfamiliarity with the routines of private practice. However, as Marriott noted, the opportunity for temporary re-emersion into the traditional practice of law offers special benefits for in-house counsel. Through pro bono work, corporate counsel can build new skills, broaden their perspective, and build new professional connections in the wider legal world. For those who opt to take on the challenge, the result is often a sense of real personal fulfillment.
Marriott reminds in-house counsel considering pro bono work that they need not be deterred by concerns about insurance coverage.
We at LAWPRO confirm that there is indeed insurance coverage available, under specified conditions, for the delivery of pro bono services by Ontario lawyers who are exempt from the mandatory insurance requirement. Where an exempt lawyer provides professional services (as defined in the policy) through an approved program associated with Pro Bono Law Ontario, he or she will have coverage for claims up to $250,000, and will not be required to pay a deductible in respect of that coverage. For more details on Ontario coverage for pro bono services, please visit the FAQ page on the topic on our website at lawpro.ca. Ontario lawyers seeking to offer pro bono services in other provinces should inform themselves about the insurance requirements in those jurisdictions.