As a firm, we support charitable and community organizations and initiatives dedicated to a broad spectrum of causes including health, education and the arts, among others.
Some of the charitable organizations that Bennett Jones has supported include: Bay Street Hoops, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, The Canadian Legacy Project, Evenstart, The Children’s Wish Foundation, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Homes for Heroes, The Arthritis Society, UNICEF and True Patriot Love. We are also the lead donor on the Canadian MS Progression Cohort, a unique pan-Canadian research project undertaken by the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. This important multi-year study seeks to answer why some people with MS experience steady progression of the disease while other do not.
We also encourage our lawyers to actively participate in community initiatives, as a means to give back and enrich their own lives and many sit on boards of grassroots organizations in their communities.
As part of our commitment to bettering the communities in which we live and work, Bennett Jones lawyers devote innumerable hours to providing pro bono legal services in a diverse range of areas from financial and business to civil liberties and human rights. This important work serves many purposes—it helps fulfill our shared belief as a firm that all Canadians are entitled to access to justice, it provides genuine professional development opportunities to our students and associates, and it encourages our lawyers to pursue areas of interest.
One example of our engagement in pro bono work is our Toronto office’s multi-year involvement with Pro Bono Ontario. Many of our litigators actively volunteer with PBO, providing pro bono services to parties in small claims matters, self-represented litigants and as amicus counsel to the court. Our lawyers have supported PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline, recently participating in a joint day with Nestlé Canada’s legal team and answering a record 87 calls.
We have assisted PBO in the creation of new and innovative programs, such as their Trial Matching Project, which matches Bennett Jones lawyers with self-represented litigants with a scheduled trial at Small Claims Court. The aim of this project is to ensure that self-represented litigants have the services of a lawyer at trial. We were also instrumental in the creation of PBO's Amicus Duty Counsel Program at Civil Practice Court. Noticing that self-represented litigants often have trouble navigating the fast-paced and complex nature of scheduling court, the program provides a milieus duty counsel at Civil Practice Court to assist self-represented litigants navigate the attendance.
Our litigators also volunteer with The Osgoode Hall Law School Investor Protection Clinic, where they act as supervising counsel to Osgoode students who provide free legal advice to people who believe their investments were mishandled and who cannot afford a lawyer.
In Alberta, Bennett Jones has provided pro bono legal services through a monthly, on-site legal clinic for young women at Louise Dean Centre for 15 years, giving legal advice on civil matters. Louise Dean Centre provides specialized education for pregnant and parenting teens, allowing students to work towards a high school diploma or certificate, while affording them flexible scheduling for maternity leaves, counselling or lifestyle challenges.
Additionally, we regularly act as duty counsel in trial and appellate courts and engage in intervention work for not-for-profit organizations at all levels of court, having acted pro bono in some of Canada’s most important public interest cases.
Some further examples of our pro bono work:
Bennett Jones is a strong supporter of diversity in the workplace and our lawyers and staff are a reflection of Canada's diverse population. We are committed to providing a collegial work environment in which all individuals are treated with dignity and respect. We believe that valuing and enhancing diversity and inclusion will help us attract and retain the best talent and better serve our clients' needs in an evolving global marketplace.
In July 2020, Bennett Jones signed the BlackNorth Initiative Law Firm Pledge, committing to specific actions and targets designed to end anti-Black systemic racism and create opportunities for those in underrepresented Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities.
We are a proud member of the Law Firm Diversity and Inclusion Network (LFDIN), a network of Canadian law firms that work together to promote diversity and encourage a culture of inclusion in our firms and the broader legal profession. As a member of LFDIN, we practice and advance diversity and inclusion by:
We are also proud to be a member of the 30% Club of Canada, a community of business leaders committed to meaningful and sustainable gender balance in business leadership.
We collaborate with, and our lawyers are actively involved in, affinity bar associations such as the South Asian Bar Association, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers and the Federation of Asian-Canadian Lawyers. Additionally, we have active engagement with on-campus affinity groups to extend our recruitment reach to under-represented communities in the legal profession.