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Seeing that there was no inventory of free or low-cost legal services in Quebec, Pro Bono Québec created, a website where over 400 resources have been listed throughout Quebec. The citizen facing a legal issue now has a starting point to find community and government resources that will bring him legal information, support and guidance for its approach. This Project has been possible thanks to a grant from the Law Foundation of Ontario.
Pro Bono Québec recognizes the importance of all pro bono legal services offered to Quebecers.
If you know a lawyer, a law student or an organization dedicated to access to justice that deserves recognition, we would like to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean-François Labadie practices in Civil and Commercial Litigation at Gagné Letarte LLP, in Quebec City. Since Law school, he was always been very involved in student life, acting as President of the Association of Law Students from « Université Laval » in 2009-2010. He was admitted to the Bar in January 2011 became a member of the Bar in February, 2012. Barely a year later, Mr. Labadie represented, pro bono, a provincial political party and its leader in an injunction against national broadcasters. Mr. Labadie says it was an unfair situation and that’s why he acted without charging any fees to the young party, since it did not have the means to ensure its representation. He was called upon to argue this case against a group of senior lawyers representing national broadcasters. This experience has been both the most rewarding and the most challenging of his short career. Recently, he also helped a farmer to prepare his appeal brief following a decision of the TAQ. The farmer was pushed to the brink of bankruptcy by his legal troubles. Mr. Labadie was deeply touched and felt the need to offer his pro bono services. Following these implications, he received, at the « Gala des Maîtres 2013 », the Award of the Young Bar of Quebec in the « Pro bono / Social involvement » category. Despite his young age and his young career, Mr. Labadie is already an example of social involvement.
Member of the Quebec Bar since 2004, Jean-Philippe Lincourt practices at Lavery, in Montreal. He practices primarily in the areas of commercial litigation, class actions, insurance law and professional liability. Mr. Lincourt took a mandate under Pro Bono Québec’s program for Public Interest Cases, a case that he devoted more than 200 hours to. The overall objectives set by the client in this case have been achieved; he obtained, after more than two years of procedure, exactly what he wanted from day one. If the client had not been given a pro bono lawyer, he would have had to pay more in legal fees than his claim.
According to Mr. Lincourt, the situation of his client illustrates the issues of access to justice faced by many citizens. It is a clear example of the beneficial role that can be played by pro bono work. Since 2007, Mr. Lincourt participates to the program of the Canadian Bar Association providing legal education in high schools, in relation to Quebec and Canadian Charters and since 2010, he joined the ranks of Citizenship and Charters Committee in charge of this program.
Lawyer Rick Goldman has devoted his entire professional career to the task of improving access to justice for the most vulnerable members of the Montreal community. Over the past twenty-four years, Goldman has supported and advocated for the rights of refugees, tenants, social assistance beneficiaries, and other groups in need of quality legal information and/or representation.
Through his work with Project Genesis (staff lawyer), the Just Solutions legal information clinic of the Montreal City Mission (supervising lawyer), the Committee to Aid Refugees (coordinator) and the Association multi-ethnique pour l'intégration des personnes handicapées du Québec (pro-bono legal advice), Rick's passionate approach to the legal profession has enabled countless individuals to access the just recourses to which all citizens, regardless of background and financial resources, are entitled.
Pro Bono Québec salutes Me Goldman’s generous contribution!
Dominique-Anne Roy practices Labor Law at Beauvais Truchon, in Quebec City. Since her early age, she has put forward the values of solidarity and mutual assistance by getting involved in her community. She was admitted to the Bar in 1996. In 2002, she co-founded Lawyers Without Borders Canada (LWBC), an NGO for international cooperation which aims to strengthen the defense of fundamental rights of the most vulnerable groups through improving access to justice and providing legal representation. Dominique-Anne was responsible for some projects of LWBC in Afghanistan and Haiti. In January 2012, she concluded, with Pro Bono Québec’s help, pro bono partnerships with LWBC and the «Centre jeunesse de Québec», by offering her pro bono services to the benefit of those two organizations.
She contributes to the influence and the development of the legal profession through conferences and training. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Pro Bono Québec, on the liaison committee of the Bar of Quebec City with the Court of Appeal and she is also a member of the consultative Council of the Faculty of Law at Université Laval. Dominique-Anne has received several awards and distinctions emphasizing her social involvement during her career. She has recently received the «2012 Canadian Pro Bono Lawyer Award», at the National Pro Bono Conference, in 2006 she received the «Justicia» Award given by the «Faculté de droit de l’Université Laval» and the «Claire L'Heureux Dubé» Award, given by the «Chaire d’études Claire Bonenfant de l’Université Laval», she is also recipient of the « Louis-Philippe Pigeon » Award presented by the «Jeune Barreau de Québec» in 2002. Dominique-Anne Roy is an example of social involvement and it is because of the generous contribution of people like her that we are moving towards a better world.
Pro Bono Quebec wishes to emphasize the remarkable social involvement of Raphael Barchichat, tax lawyer working for the accounting firm KPMG LLP, in Montreal. He was one of the three finalists for the YBAM Lawyer of the year 2011 Award in the category Pro Bono / Social Involvement. Since his young age, he allocates a considerable amount of time volunteering for causes that touches him.
He is the Co-Founder and Director of the CanDonate Hair Program, a non-profit organization that helps the Quebec children diagnosed with cancer by giving them free human hair wigs. In addition to volunteering in various sub-committees, Barchichat sits on the Board of Directors of the Quebec Celiac Foundation, the Or Shalom Congregation and Or Maimonide Daycare. He is also a coach and volunteer evaluator of projects for the Fondation du maire de Montréal. He also accepts mandates as a professional resource through Bénévoles d’affaires. Social involvement is an integral part of Raphael Barchichat’s life who explains that volunterering is "enjoying getting involved in causes for which you are passionate about".
Pro Bono Quebec is proud to present Chantal Beaubien, the YBAM Lawyer of the year 2011 in the category Pro Bono / Public Interest, a lawyer whose career seems guided by the desire to improve the conditions of communities here and abroad. As a student, Chantal Beaubien volunteered for Montreal Legal Aid as well as for various legal clinics in Montreal and founded an organization in Montreal to assist refugee claimants.
After becoming a lawyer, she went to Cambodia to volunteer for a human rights NGO. She stayed there for five years, offering her legal expertise to the benefit of social development in this post-conflict country. She has volunteered in a nation-wide outreach program for victims of the Khmer Rouge regime for the hearings of the United Nations Tribunal as well as for the Trial Chamber of the UN Khmer Rouge Tribunal.
She also worked for three years in an international law firm, contributing to the rule law and private sector development while still working pro bono on NGO files. In the coming weeks, she will start working in Jerusalem for the United Nations Development Program on socio-economic development projects in the Palestinian territories.
She is an inspiring example of a lawyer for whom social involvement has no boundaries!
For 34 years, Project Genesis has been opening its doors to people encountering housing problems or difficulties in accessing government programs, such as welfare, pensions and family allowances. In the heart of Montreal’s multiethnic community of Côte-des-Neiges, the organization offers individual services, without appointment, four days a week. With an approach allying law and social work, the team provides legal information, referrals and advocacy. Last year, six employees, 60 volunteers and a dozen student interns provided more than 10 700 interventions in person and an estimated 9 300 by phone. Through its recognized expertise, the quality of its services and the generous spirit of its team members, Project Geneses constitutes a strong link in improving access to justice.
We underline the exemplary work of Tricia Kuhl who works voluntarily with Portage, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the social rehabilitation of substance abusers by providing tailored programs to youth, new mothers, adults and mentally ill chemical abusers. On top of being a member of their Board of Directors, Kuhl offers legal assistance on corporate, commercial and intellectual property matters.
Kuhl is the recipient of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) 2009 Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award. This award is granted annually to a young Canadian lawyer who has offered outstanding pro bono legal services to the community. According to Me Sarah Klinger, Post Chair of CBA’s Young Lawyers : “Tricia personifies what can be done in terms of pro bono. She is part of the solution, someone who demonstrates by example through her teaching, mentoring and tutoring.”
Me Tricia Kuhl is an Associate at the Montreal office of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP where she practices in the areas of corporate and commercial law, life sciences and technology and telecommunications.
We underline the remarkable contribution of Pascale Gouin, who works voluntarily as legal counsel for the Breakfast Club Canada. She has been involved in this project for 12 years now. Throughout these years, her professional help has grown and has become extraordinarily valuable to the organization. Their mission is important to Me Pascale Gouin thus the increasing number of hours she has offered as a volunteer. For over a year now, in addition to her many probono mandates, she sits on their Board. People like Me Gouin demonstrate how the involvement of the members of the profession within philanthropic organizations, is rewarding for everyone. Beside being a precious support to the administration of the organization, she enables those who work with her to appreciate the difference lawyers can make.
Pascale Gouin is an associate at the Legault, Joly, Thiffault, where she practices litigation and alternate dispute resolution.
Paul St-Pierre Plamondon is Vice-President and shareholder of Delegatus since early 2009 where he practices in the areas of commercial and civil litigation. He completed a MBA at Oxford University, a Law Degree at McGill University and a certificate in International Law at Lund University in Sweden. During his studies, St-Pierre Plamondon received several awards: the William Kagan Prize for Excellence in Real Estate Law, the Wainwright Essay Prize for the Best Written Contribution in Civil Law and a J. McGill scholarship for Community Leadership.
St-Pierre Plamondon is co-founder of Génération d'Idées, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to lend a voice to Quebecers aged between 20 and 35 years old in a non partisan and independent context. In 2009, he visited 19 cities across the province of Quebec to meet the younger generation and learn about issues that are of interest to them. He published in February 2010: «Des jeunes et l’avenir du Québec : les rêveries d’un promeneur solitaire». In November 2010, the Young Bar Association of Montréal recognized him in the “Pro Bono/Social Involvement” category at « Les Leaders de demain » Gala.
Vincent J. O’Donnell is a partner at the Montreal office of Lavery where he has been practising law since 1957, after graduating from the Faculty of Law at McGill University in 1955. His areas of practice are Commercial Insurance Litigation, Corporate Commercial Litigation and Product Liability. He was named Queen's Counsel in 1972. He was a member and Chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Liaison Committee with the Supreme Court of Canada.
An exceptional jurist, author and lecturer, he has been a teacher in several Canadian universities. O’Donnell is highly involved with different organizations within the Legal Community and he has distinguished himself among his peers. He was awarded the Quebec Bar Medal in 1999, named Avocat Émérite (Ad.E.) by the Quebec Bar in 2007 and he received the Canadian Bar Association's 2008 President's Award. Me O’Donnell is listed in the 2010 directory The Best Lawyers in Canada and nominated Lawyer of the Year 2010 for Montreal and Quebec City in the category Director and Officer Liability.
For many years, Me O’Donnell has been involved with several community organizations funded by Centraide such as Les fourchettes de l’espoir and Projet 80. Through is network and his personal involvement, he provides essential support to these organizations which do not have sufficient financial means to afford such an expertise. Me O’Donnell is a model and he is the living proof that it is possible to be an excellent lawyer and still find time to volunteer one’s expertise.
Éric Downs practices at Downs Lepage in Montréal. He is a prolific author and a sought-after speaker. Jean-Marc Fradette is the founding member of Fradette et Associés in Chicoutimi. He is committed to his work and always shows a fighting spirit. Marco Labrie is in private practice. He was the bâtonnier of the Longueuil Bar in 2009-2010.
They are three experienced criminal lawyers, specialized in crimes related to motor vehicles. They were mandated by l’Association Québécoise des Avocates et Avocats de la Défense (AQAAD) and the Quebec Bar to intervene in a constitutional debate on amendments to the Criminal Code which would constitute a breach to the principle of presumption of innocence.
The intervention was granted in March 2010. The task of these three lawyers was especially complex because they had to work with experts on judicial toxicology and pharmacology, as well as experts on the use of various “breath-analyzing” systems. Their team work has led to the introduction, for the first time in Canada, of testimonial evidence in a constitutional challenge of this Bill.
Thanks to their effort and their pro bono work, many citizens would have been unable to financially support a constitutional challenge of this Bill.
Simon V. Potter was called to the Québec Bar in 1975 and he is currently a partner at McCarthy Tétrault in Montreal, in their Litigation Group. He has frequently appeared as a leading lawyer in the Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business and in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory in the areas of dispute resolution, international trade regulation and litigation, corporate commercial litigation, class action litigation and public law. Potter was the national president of the Canadian Bar Association when was adopted a resolution on pro bono. Recently, Potter distinguished himself in the Omar Khadr case, heard by the Supreme Court of Canada in November 2009, where he was the pro bono lawyer representing, Lawyers without Borders, the Quebec Bar and the Groupe d’études en droits et libertés de l’Université Laval (GEDEL).
Pro Bono Québec is proud to underline the excellent work and the exceptional social implication of Mathieu Piché-Messier.
He is a partner at the Montréal office of Borden Ladner Gervais and practises in the Commercial Litigation group. He was admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1998 and is a graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke. He was the President of the Young Bar Association of Montréal in 2007-2008. As such, he has contributed to move forward their pro bono Legal Services. He pushed the participation of his firm to the Service in Preparation for a Hearing at the Small Claims Court. He sits on the pro bono committee at his law firm and supervises several pro bono cases. Piché-Messier was the initial author of the Founding Agreement (Declaration) of Pro Bono Québec and its By-Laws.
His participation on many boards demonstrates his social engagement. He is also very much involved in organizations within the legal community. Me Piché-Messier has published several articles about Commercial litigation and he coauthored a word of doctrine entitled “L’injonction et les ordonnances Anton Piller, Mareva et Norwich”. In 2010, he was a nominee for the Médaille de Saint-Yves awarded by Pro Bono Québec recognizing the outstanding contribution of a lawyer or law student in the area of pro bono legal services.
Pro Bono Québec is proud to underline the excellent work and the exceptional social implication of Mr. Marc-Antoine Cloutier, law student at the Université du Québec à Montréal.
In spring 2009, Mr. Cloutier founded Juripop, an organization whose principal objective is to allow citizens who are not eligible to Legal Aid and financially unable to defend their rights, to receive free legal services. Since 2009, Mr. Cloutier is vice-president of Complexe Le Partage, a community organization helping the underprivileged. In May 2010, he founded the Young Chambre de commerce et d’industrie Royal-Roussillon. As its President, he sits on the Executive Committee and on the Board of the Chambre. Mr. Cloutier was awarded a Millennium Scholarship for his social involvement. In 2010, he was a nominee for the award “Socially Responsible Young Business Leader” at the Arista Gala organized by the Jeune Chambre de Commerce de Montréal. The same year, he was a nominee for the Médaille de Saint-Yves awarded by Pro Bono Québec recognizing the outstanding contribution of a lawyer or law student in the area of pro bono legal services. He is also a finalist for the 2010 Forces Avenir Gala, rewarding innovative projects from students. All this involvement representing volunteer efforts, Mr. Cloutier works as press secretary for Mr. François Rebello, member of the National Assembly for La Prairie and official spokesperson for the opposition party on Labour matters.
Jared Will graduated from McGill University in Philosophy and in Law where he received many awards and scholarships. He became a member of the Quebec Bar in 2006 when he started his own practice focusing on immigration, refugees protection and criminal law. Working with Pro Bono Students Canada-McGill, he supervises law students involved with the Immigrant Workers Centre and with Action Santé Travesti(e)s et Transsexuel(le)s du Québec. Me Will regularly offers his pro bono services to people without legal status, to community organizations and to political activists facing the justice system, with the goal of protecting and fostering human dignity in legal proceedings and in society at large.
As part of the arrival of Syrian refugees, Pro Bono Québec and CN are proud to announce that starting today, refugees in Quebec and aid organizations will be able to use volunteer lawyer services. Based on Pro Bono Québec’s public interest program, which started in 2009, the assistance program to refugees and organizations will meet the legal needs of individuals who would not have access to legal services from a lawyer without the help of Pro Bono Québec.Learn more »