Canadian Lawyers Honoured for Pro Bono Legal Work for the Poor and Disadvantaged

    2 lawyers, 1 pro bono clinic, and 1 law firm to receive
    National Pro Bono Awards

    VANCOUVER, Sept. 17 /CNW/ - The 2008 Canadian National Pro Bono Awards
will be presented by Ottawa lawyer David W. Scott, Q.C. at the 2nd National
Pro Bono Conference Dinner & Canadian Pro Bono Awards Ceremony in Vancouver on
September 18. The Hon. Louise Arbour, former justice of the Supreme Court of
Canada and former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, will
provide the keynote address at the dinner.
    Edmonton lawyers Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling, Saskatoon community
organization Community Legal Assistance Services for Saskatoon Inner City Inc.
(CLASSIC), and national law firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP are the three
honoured recipients of the awards that recognize distinguished service in the
provision of pro bono legal services to the poor. Details on each appear
    These awards are a national celebration of the dedication and commitment
of the many lawyers who give their time freely to represent those who need but
cannot afford legal assistance or qualify for legal aid.
    The awards will be presented as part of the 2nd National Pro Bono
Conference taking place in Vancouver on September 18 and 19. The Conference is
hosted by Pro Bono Law Alberta, Pro Bono Law of British Columbia, Pro Bono Law
Ontario, and Pro Bono law Saskatchewan. For more information on the Conference
and the awards, please visit


    Dennis Edney and Nathan Whitling have devoted countless hours jointly
fighting for the rights of Omar Khadr who has been imprisoned in Guantanamo
Bay since 2002. The significance of their commitment is based not only on the
tremendous time, energy, and personal resources spent advocating on Mr.
Khadr's behalf, but also based on the complexity of the litigation, which was
argued before Canadian and U.S. courts and military tribunals. Their
commitment in the face of potential personal repercussions of representing an
unpopular case is a testament to the finest tradition of the legal profession.
The fruits of their labour have not only increased access to justice for one
individual, but impacted human rights the world over.

    Community Legal Services for Saskatoon Inner City, Inc. (CLASSIC) was
founded in 2005 by a group of University of Saskatchewan College of Law
Students concerned by the lack of poverty law services in Saskatoon, CLASSIC
has grown as an institution that is respected and supported by local community
service groups, the College of Law, the private bar and the government. Since
officially opening its doors in February 2007, CLASSIC has served hundreds of
low-income clients that could not qualify for legal aid and could not afford
to hire a lawyer. CLASSIC operates a Walk-in Advocacy Clinic and a Legal
Advice Clinic. The group has made extraordinary accomplishments as a
bare-bones organization - with two full time staff members and two Student
Managers (each volunteering a number of hours a week) providing overall
management and program coordination. CLASSIC is also supported by seven pro
bono lawyers and over forty law students during the school year. Although it
is a young organization, CLASSIC is an object lesson in what can be achieved
when law students make a firm commitment to access to justice. They represent
the best in the profession and its future.

    Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP is a national firm that has adopted a
national pro bono policy. It has been a leader in national pro bono activities
for several years, formally partnering with groups like Evergreen Canada,
Parkinson's Society of British Columbia, Pro Bono Law of BC's Civil Chambers
Pro Bono Duty Counsel Project and Pro Bono Law Ontario's Small Claims Duty
Counsel Project. Moreover, Blake's encourages individual lawyer participation
through pro bono rosters for PBLO (including its Law Help Ontario project,
Child Advocacy Project, and Volunteer Lawyers Service), for PBLBC and for the
Salvation Army and ACCESS Justice's pro bono projects. Blakes also dedicates a
significant amount of pro bono work done on behalf of international clients in
developing countries. In 2008, the firm offered its support to AIDS-Free World
to assist on legal investigations of crimes against humanity occurring in
Zimbabwe, where women and girls have been subjected to gang rape, torture, and
the threat of HIV infection as part of a campaign of violence against the
political opposition.

For further information:

For further information: PLACEMENTS & INTERVIEWS: Pro Bono Law of BC:
Jamie Maclaren, (604) 893-8932,; MORE INFO:,,,

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