Skip to content

Monday, August 1, 2016


It seems Canadian lawyers are spending fewer hours on pro bono work than they were last year.

According to the Canadian firms that sent their data to the 2016 TrustLaw Index of Pro Bono, their lawyers spent an average of 13 hours on pro bono work over the last year, a decrease of 1.8 hours from the previous index.

The percentage of lawyers completing 10 hours or more of pro bono also dropped by more than 25 per cent, to 26.9 per cent from 36.3 in 2015.

The survey average was 39.2 pro bono hours per lawyer in the last year.

However, Nicholas Glicher, director, legal, and head of African Programmes at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Johannesburg, says only four Canadian firms — Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP, McCarthy Tetrault LLP, Shearman & Sterling LLP, and Skadden, Arps Slate Meagher and Flom LLP — responded to TrustLaw’s request for data, which makes it difficult to “judge the whole of the Canadian pro bono community.”

In 2014, Canadian Lawyer conducted a pro bono survey offering more of an in-depth look at the Canadian pro bono market.

Gordon Baird, partner at McCarthy’s and chair of its National Pro Bono Committee, says he was surprised by the drop compared to last year’s index and is hoping to increase the firm’s hours up significantly.

“Our goal — although whether it’s ultimately achievable I don’t know — is to try to get to 50 hours per lawyer per year,” Baird says.


A leading banking and finance lawyer has joined the ranks of Gowling WLG (Canada) LLP.

The international law firm recently announced the addition of Jean-François Vadeboncoeur to its Montreal office.

“Jean-François has a dynamic practice that complements the strengths of our firm-wide corporate commercial team,” said Peter Lukasiewicz, CEO of Gowling WLG Canada.

“With his unique banking, finance, and real estate experience, he'll help advance the scope of our corporate commercial platform to better serve the needs of our clients in Quebec.”

Called to the Quebec bar in 2001, Vadeboncoeur’s areas of experience include corporate law, banking, real estate, and financial services.


Called the bar in 2016? Have a drink on the Toronto Lawyers Association this fall.

The TLA is set to hold its Call to the Bar celebration on Sept. 14 for all lawyers who were called to the bar this year.

Wine and appetizers will be served at the event, which will take place at the Courthouse Library at 361 University Ave.

Registration for the event is free for members and those called to the bar in 2016 can sign up for a free membership on the TLA’s web site.

For more information, e-mail or call 416-327-5700.


Law Times reported recently that Legal Aid Ontario lawyers have filed a pay equity complaint on the basis that legal aid lawyers are predominantly female.

Readers were asked if they thought the complaint has merit.

Around 42 per cent said yes, Legal Aid Ontario lawyers are not paid sufficiently for their work, and any steps that can be taken to correct the pay gap are strategically valuable.

The remaining 58 per cent said no, this approach to addressing displeasure with wages does not make sense and a similar complaint already failed.

cover image


Subscribers get early and easy access to Law Times.

Law Times Poll

The Law Society of Ontario is in the midst of a major overhaul of the role of paralegals in family law — and a proposal on the issue could become an imminent issue for the regulator’s newly elected benchers. Do you agree with widening the scope of family law matters that paralegals can address?