The Advocates' Society is pleased to promote to TAS members across the country the following opportunities to give back to their communities.

John Howard Society

The organization: The John Howard Society of Canada's goal is to understand and respond to problems of crime and the criminal justice system. The John Howard Society is composed of provincial and territorial societies that operate a network of 65 offices across Canada. Together, the National Office and the provincial and territorial branches of the John Howard Society work with people who have come into conflict with the law; review, evaluate, and advocate for changes in the criminal justice process (for example, with respect to solitary confinement; healthcare for prisoners; freedom of information; and the application of the rule of law in prisons); engage in public education on matters relating to criminal law and its application; and promote crime prevention through community and social development activities.

The programs: The National Office of the John Howard Society engages in:
  • Advocacy, including policy analysis, dialogue with policy advisors, politicians, and legislative committees, as well as engagement with the media;
  • Research, including the development and dissemination of briefs and positions on matters of national importance within the criminal justice system;
  • Community education, which focuses on sharing information among the provincial and territorial societies, as well as broad-based community education initiatives;
  • Coalition building with other national organizations; and
  • Resource development initiatives.
The volunteer's role: As a strong national voice for reform in Canada's criminal law and the correctional system, the John Howard Society offers a number of volunteer opportunities for lawyers across Canada, including involvement in the development of submissions to government officials and parliamentary committees; court interventions and Charter challenges; and public education initiatives.

How to get involved: To get involved, please email Catherine Latimer, Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Canada, at

Pro Bono Students Canada

The organization: Pro Bono Students Canada (or "PBSC") was founded in 1996 and now has student-led Chapters at 22 law schools throughout Canada. PBSC engages approximately 1,500 law student volunteers each year to provide free legal information and services to assist people and communities facing barriers to justice.

The programs: PBSC's student-led Chapters run more than 500 projects annually, which match motivated law students with local community organizations to respond to barriers to justice across all areas of law. These projects primarily involve legal research and writing, public legal education, and/or client intake and assistance. The law students complete their placements under the supervision of qualified lawyers. Student volunteers at the various law schools are recruited annually in late August or early September and undergo PBSC training prior to commencing their placements in October. In addition to the above-described Chapter-based programming, PBSC's National Office runs two in-house projects, the Family Justice Centre and the Indigenous Human Rights Program, which operate year-round with their own rosters of student caseworkers and volunteer lawyers. All of PBSC's programming provides experiential learning for the law students and mentorship opportunities for the supervising lawyers.

The volunteer's role: Pro Bono Students Canada welcomes lawyer supervisors from all practice areas that are passionate about access to justice and interested in overseeing and mentoring law students doing pro bono work. Each local PBSC Chapter determines the projects that the students in its Chapter will pursue. Lawyer supervisors may qualify for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits in their respective jurisdictions.

How to get involved:
  • Lawyers interested in volunteering to supervise a PBSC project are encouraged to contact their local PBSC Chapter for further information. A listing of PBSC Chapters with links and email addresses can be found at:
  • PBSC's National Office is also in need of Ontario lawyers with family law or human rights experience to expand the impact and reach of the Family Justice Centre and Indigenous Human Rights Program, respectively.

Women's Legal Education & Action Fund

The organization: The Women's Legal Education & Action Fund ("LEAF") is a national charitable organization that works to ensure the law guarantees substantive equality for all women, girls, trans, and non-binary people. It challenges laws, policies, and practices that discriminate against the equality guarantees enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, particularly sections 15 and 28.

The work: LEAF has a number of very interesting projects at present, including:
  • the feminist strategic litigation project (examining the use and impact of feminist strategic litigation to help LEAF, feminists, and gender justice advocates more effectively combat systemic discrimination and oppression)
  • the technology-facilitated violence project (bringing together feminist lawyers and academics to research and prepare a report imagining legal responses to technology-facilitated violence against women and gender-diverse people that are informed by equality principles)
  • the reproductive justice project (working to advance reproductive justice in Canada through law reform advocacy at the provincial and territorial levels)
  • the alternative justice mechanisms for survivors of sexual violence project (identifying legal barriers to alternative justice mechanisms for sexual violence).
The volunteer's role: LEAF welcomes volunteer lawyers on its case committees (guiding interventions) and advisory committees (guiding law reform projects), as pro bono counsel representing LEAF in interventions, and on its board of directors. LEAF also welcomes volunteer lawyers to provide advice on its own non-profit and charitable operations, and to assist with legal research to further LEAF’s public legal education initiatives, including in employment, human rights, and criminal law. For more information about volunteer opportunities please click here.

How to get involved:
  • To apply to join a committee or act as pro bono counsel, please complete the application form here.
  • To join LEAF's board of directors, please watch for notices on LEAF's News & Events page.
  • To assist with a legal research project or provide legal expertise regarding non-profits, please e-mail