Heenan Blaikie announces new initiative to provide legal services to East
Scarborough community

TORONTO, Jan. 14 /CNW/ - Heenan Blaikie LLP has furthered its partnership with Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO), the City of Toronto, and East Scarborough Storefront through its new Heenan Blaikie Pro Bono Legal Service Initiative (PLSI). As part of this initiative, lawyers from Heenan Blaikie's Toronto office will provide pro bono legal services to residents who frequent the East Scarborough Storefront, an umbrella organization of more than 40 agencies and community groups that provide various educational and community services in the Kingston-Galloway area. This initiative will mark the first time that one of the City's Bay Street law firms has committed to providing a wide range of legal services to residents of an entire City neighbourhood.

According to Heenan Blaikie lawyers Ryan Teschner and Trevor Guy, who spearheaded the PLSI, this initiative offers fair and equitable access to a broader spectrum of legal services than those presently available to East Scarborough residents. "Canada's legal system doesn't belong to one constituency," says Teschner. "Everybody should have equal access to justice. This program is meant to provide those in need with access to our province's courts and tribunals, access that will help those in need to protect their rights." As Guy adds, "This initiative will establish an important bridge between the firm and the community. There is obviously a great divide between Bay Street and East Scarborough. Our goal is to make ourselves more accessible to the community in order to satisfy a genuine and important need."

East Scarborough residents seeking legal assistance will have an intake interview at the East Scarborough Storefront. Based on criteria established by PBLO and Heenan Blaikie, interviewees may then be referred to Heenan Blaikie, which would then represent them on a pro bono basis. "This is an important development," says Anne Gloger, Director of the East Scarborough Storefront. "Residents end up on long waiting lists for legal services, telling and retelling their stories but not getting adequately served. This initiative will help meet the community's needs more quickly and effectively."

The PLSI is part of Heenan Blaikie's continuing effort to assist the City's priority neighbourhoods. The firm was a pioneer of what has become the City's Partnership to Advance Youth Employment (PAYE), a program that has seen approximately 50 businesses employ youth from Toronto's 13 priority neighbourhoods. As Norman Bacal, Managing Partner of Heenan Blaikie, explains, "Toronto has been very good to Heenan Blaikie for the past 20 years. We never lose sight of our core philosophy that we have a responsibility to give back to the community and its citizens. Our goal is to do our part to improve the City and the life of its residents."

About Heenan Blaikie

Heenan Blaikie has more than 500 lawyers and professionals in nine offices across Canada and internationally. The firm provides legal expertise in a wide variety of areas, including labour and employment, corporate, taxation, entertainment, litigation, and intellectual property.

Heenan Blaikie encourages its employees to donate their time and skills to the community and charitable organizations, which often includes the provision of pro bono legal services. Heenan Blaikie also supports its clients' social and philanthropic efforts by contributing its time and skill, as well as through several sponsorships and direct donations.

SOURCE Heenan Blaikie

For further information: For further information: Karyn McLean, (416) 360-6863, kmclean@heenan.ca

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