LISNS pro bono: for Lawyer Referral Service members

This information is for lawyers who:

  • may wish to do some pro bono legal work, and
  • are members of the Legal Information Society's Lawyer Referral Service.

Why pro bono

We want to connect lawyers who want to help with Nova Scotians of limited means who need free legal advice.

The goal is to support access to legal advice and foster quality pro bono legal service on key issues for Nova Scotians living in poverty, the working poor, non-profit organizations and others facing barriers in gaining access to justice.

LISNS' Lawyer Referral Service pro bono option is not a replacement for existing pro bono services in Nova Scotia, including Nova Scotia Legal Aid.

LISNS will continue to refer qualified individuals or organizations to other pro bono services, where appropriate.

The goal is to help
fill in the gaps.

Pro bono legal services are currently offered by a range of organizations in Nova Scotia, including:

If you are already working/volunteering with one of the above organizations, or you already provide pro bono services in some other way, we thank you for your commitment to access to justice.


If you are not, or if you are and would like to do a bit more, please consider selecting the pro bono option as part of your Lawyer Referral Service membership.


Your commitment

If you check off the "I will consider offering pro bono services" box on your LRS Registration form your commitment is to:

  • provide up to 30 minutes of free, summary legal advice
  • consider providing further pro bono legal services, solely at your discretion.

You will be expected to offer summary legal advice during the initial 30 minute session, including providing legal information and coaching.  You may sometimes be asked to do limited legal work during the consultation, such as help draft a letter or other document.

You may decline a referral if there is a conflict of interest, or if you feel the referral is not appropriate.

You are not obligated to accept any case referred to you, other than the initial session.

You can remove your name from the Legal Information Society's Lawyer Referral Service pro bono list at any time.

Our commitment to you

Before making a pro bono referral we first check to see whether the person has explored other options for dealing with their issue, including whether they would be able to get free legal advice from somewhere else (Nova Scotia Legal Aid for example).

When we make a pro bono referral we tell the potential client that:

  • they must tell the law firm they got the lawyer’s contact information from the Legal Information Society's Lawyer Referral Service
  • the law firm will do a conflict check
  • the consultation may be in-person, over the telephone, or by email/online, at the lawyer’s discretion
  • if there is no conflict and the lawyer feels the referral is appropriate, they can expect up to 30 minutes of free summary advice
  • the lawyer may do legal work during the initial session, at the lawyer’s discretion
  • the lawyer may provide further pro bono legal services, at the lawyer’s discretion

LISNS pro bono Objectives and Principles

LISNS pro bono Objectives

  • To help Nova Scotians find pro bono services for their legal problem
  • To create various ways for Nova Scotians to gain access to legal pro bono services
  • To partner with organizations already providing pro bono legal services throughout Nova Scotia
  • To educate the Nova Scotia legal community about pro bono opportunities and their benefits
  • To engage and provide opportunities for the legal community in Nova Scotia to participate in delivering pro bono services
  • To raise general public awareness about pro bono legal services

LISNS pro bono Principles

1.  Providing pro bono legal services is part of the tradition of the Nova Scotia Bar, where the profession has demonstrated its ethical and moral responsibility to assist citizens in attaining access to justice

2.  Pro bono legal services are provided to people and non-profit organizations of limited means without expectation of a fee.

3.  Pro bono legal services should be designed and provided according to the changing social and legal needs of the people and non-profit organizations of limited means for whom they are intended

4.  Pro bono legal services should be provided according to the same standards of dedication, excellence, and professional ethics as paid services.

5.  Pro bono legal services should serve to complement and not replace government-funded programs advancing access to justice; such as Nova Scotia Legal Aid. A collaborative pro bono system should not be a substitute for a properly funded legal aid system.

Other pro bono opportunities

 If you check off the  "Please let me know about other pro bono opportunities" box on the LISNS' LRS Registration form we will contact you to let you know about other opportunities as they come up. Click here to see other pro bono opportunities currently available through LISNS.

Contact for more information or to change your LRS membership information

Please contact:
Manager, Legal Information Services
Legal Information Society of Nova Scotia
1663 Brunswick Street, Hydrostone Market
Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J 3Z6
Telephone: 902-454-2198 ext. 106 (LRS/MRS administration only, not for lawyer or mediator referrals)
Email: questions@legalinfo.org

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