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Pro Bono Law Ontario at Children’s Hospital adds legal expertise to care team


For Immediate Release:

May 24 , 2012


(LONDON, Ontario) – Today, the Children’s Hospital at London Health Sciences Centre, The Advocates’ Society and Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO) launched a program that brings clinicians and lawyers together in pursuit of better child health outcomes.

At no cost to the eligible patient or family, the PBLO at Children’s Hospital program brings a lawyer into the care mix, if requested by the family, when legal issues arise that impact a critically or chronically ill child’s health or the family’s ability to care for that child.  

One such example is a parent who provides the main source of family income and loses employment because of how much time she has taken off work to attend to her child’s bedside at the hospital.  

Through this program, PBLO Triage Lawyer Lee Ann Chapman will now be part of the Children’s Hospital team. Chapman will train hospital clinicians on legal issue spotting, meet families on site, and provide services such as legal advice, document preparation and referrals to volunteer lawyers for representation. 

“This is a wonderful program which will be very beneficial for families facing difficult times,” says Bonnie Adamson, LHSC President and CEO. “It is a strong example of putting our vision into action, building partnerships to provide excellence in patient care and improving patient and family experiences.” 

Children’s Hospital is the second hospital in Canada to launch this program. Michael Lerner, Law Society Bencher and Children’s Health Foundation Board Chair, was instrumental in bringing this partnership to fruition. Partners in the PBLO at Children’s Hospital program also include Lerners LLP, Siskinds LLP and The Advocates’ Society.

"Serious illness does not often occur in a vacuum,” says Chapman. “It can be exacerbated by external factors and can create major fallout for families who are, frankly, overwhelmed.  Our experience has shown that bringing legal services directly to families can make a meaningful difference, and we are glad to have the opportunity to do so in London.”

 “We are especially pleased to see that a lawyer will be assisting patients, and the families of patients, at no cost, at what can be an extremely stressful time,” says Mark Lerner, President of The Advocates’ Society. “We are thrilled to be involved with a project as important as the Children’s Hospital program. On behalf of the board of Directors of The Advocates’ Society, I’d like to thank each and every one of our members who donated to this worthy cause.” 

About London Health Sciences Centre

London Health Sciences Centre has been in the forefront of medicine in Canada for 137 years and offers the broadest range of specialized clinical services in Ontario. Building on the traditions of its founding hospitals to provide compassionate care in an academic teaching setting, London Health Sciences Centre is home to Children’s Hospital, South Street Hospital, University Hospital, Victoria Hospital, two family medical centres, and two research institutes – Children’s Health Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute, a joint research initiative with St. Joseph’s Health Care London. As a leader in medical discovery and health research, London Health Sciences Centre has a history of over 50 international and national firsts and attracts top clinicians and researchers from around the world. As a regional referral centre, London Health Sciences Centre cares for the most medically complex patients including critically injured adults and children in southwestern Ontario and beyond. The hospital’s nearly 15,000 staff, physicians, students and volunteers provide care for more than one million patient visits a year.

About The Advocates’ Society

Established in 1963, The Advocates' Society is a not-for-profit professional association of over 4700 judges and lawyers and is Canada’s leading provider of advocacy skills training. The Advocates’ Society is dedicated to promoting excellence in advocacy and the highest standards of professionalism within a fair and accessible system of justice.  Among its mandates is the principal of giving back to the community through pro bono activity and annual charitable projects.  

Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO)

PBLO is a charity founded in 2001 with a mandate to improve access to justice by promoting and facilitating opportunities for lawyers to provide volunteer legal services to low-income Ontarians with civil, non-family, legal problems.  PBLO is funded in part by The Law Foundation of Ontario and The Law Society of Upper Canada. It is one of the largest, privately funded free legal service providers in Canada.  Last year PBLO served 13,758 clients.    

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For media inquiries contact:             

Bärbel Hatje

Corporate Communications and Public Relations

London Health Sciences Centre

519-685-8500, ext. 75947



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The Advocates’ Society at www.advocates.ca and Pro Bono Law Ontario at www.pblo.org