The OBA recognizes and supports those members who lend their skills and expertise to providing pro bono legal services to individuals and organizations in need.
Please take a moment to learn more about OBA members who give back to the community and help further the cause of justice in Ontario. Want to be profiled? Contact the OBA Pro Bono Committee.
Katie Black, Caza Saikaley
WHAT I DO
I practice in all areas of civil and appellate litigation, including commercial litigation, constitutional litigation, medical malpractice, and defamation law.
HIGHLIGHTS OF MY PRO BONO WORK
I co-created a national organization of over 1,200 pro-bono lawyers and students across twelve cities in Canada. The Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (SSP) trains non-refugee lawyers in the area of private refugee sponsorship and then matches lawyers with Canadians wanting to sponsor refugees to Canada. The SSP provides critical pro-bono legal services in the areas of refugee, tax and trust law.
I helped create lawyer and client intake procedures. I ran the tax and trust law referral system and obtained insurance for retired and part-time lawyers. Today, my main objective is to ensure the long term sustainability of the SSP. I helped obtain over $280,000 in funding given the critical demand for the service. We need staff to coordinate the 1,000+ probono lawyers across the country. I hope that the SSP can continue to help Canadians help our world’s most vulnerable.
WHY I DO THIS PRO BONO WORK
As lawyers, we have a professional obligation to be a part of the solution. The Syrian refugee crisis hit a critical breaking point this past fall. The non-refugee bars could help. My idea was simple:
- The public needs help filling out complex refugee sponsorship forms.
- Any lawyer can fill out a form.
- Let’s train lawyers and help
ONE COMMENT TO ENCOURAGE OTHERS
Life is short and we as lawyers can do so much to help our community. The SSP is one example of how our legal community can help solve an international crisis. I am so proud of our profession: we had a simple idea as to how litigators, family and criminal lawyers could take action in the face of this human tragedy. The response has been overwhelming.