Community Action

While involved in innumerable community activities, the Toronto Lawyers Association represents our members to the Ontario bench and bar, to all levels of government, and to the public at large. We participate in charitable events, liaise with other legal associations, provide educational mock trials at local public schools, and sit on committees related to legal and courthouse issues.

TLA steps up to aid Pro Bono Ontario

An outpouring of support from the legal profession has made a difference at Pro Bono Ontario (PBO), as the organization expects the Law Help Centres, in danger of closing on Dec. 14, 2018, will remain open in the short term until more sustainable funding can be secured.

Members of the profession who have been urging the provincial government or the Law Society of Ontario to provide sustained funding, have turned out their own pockets to keep PBO’s Law Help Centres open.  The court-based centres in Toronto and Ottawa assist over 18,000 Ontarians facing the justice system alone.

Dirk Derstine, a partner at Derstine Penman, and past president of the Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA), said the TLA’s board realized the situation was dire and decided to make a  $35,000 donation to fill PBO’s short-term fundraising goal to keep the doors of the centres open until more sustainable funding can be secured.

“I think that everybody in the justice system recognizes what a crucial role Pro Bono Ontario plays in the administration of justice,” he said, noting that it provides people a shot at getting help and also saves the judicial system a lot of time. “It’s a wonderful program and it’s a program that ought to be funded by government ,” he added. Read the full article.

TLA Week at the PBO Hotline, May 7-11, 2018

Pro Bono Ontario’s Free Legal Advice Hotline is barely six months old, and it has already provided pro bono legal services to over 6,000 callers with civil problems and nowhere to turn. It is hard to think of a more concrete and effective way for the legal profession to work together to increase access to justice. 

Please consider volunteering your time for one full-day shift during TLA week!   May 7-11 has been designated TLA week and we want to  get our members out to help low-income Ontarians with, what are to them, overwhelming legal problems. Volunteers arrive at 9 am, and take calls from approximately 9:30 am to 4 pm, with a break for lunch. You can choose which areas of civil law you wish to service. The current choices are:  civil procedure; employment; consumer; housing; corporate law for small businesses, charities and non-profits; and, creating powers of attorney. TLA members are encouraged to commit to one full-day shift.

Check the  Volunteer FAQs  for more details about the hotline. To volunteer, please contact Nicole Kellow at or sign-up online.
Still not convinced? Read TLA Secretary  Brett Harrison's letter  about his experience with PBO.  Help us lead by example through community action.


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