All team members at CIL are focused on helping our clients, our partners, our communities and our business affiliations as much as possible. We are well integrated and well connected to our communities. We do our best to guide and educate communities, based on our expertise. Every year, we spend many (many!) hours of our time helping pro bono (ie. without receiving payment). Many of those hours are not calculated. It could be that a client has retained us for a service and, after the services have been provided, that client requires a bit more help. For example, clients who apply for documents from MPI or they need declarations. Depending on our relationship with that client, we may do that work for free.
In 2022, we provided more than 100 hours of pro bono services. Every year, we maintain our commitment to providing public legal education to groups. As a lawyer, I am bound by the Law Society, Code of Professional Conduct which states that I “must encourage public respect for and try to improve the administration of justice.” This is mandated by law – contrary to consultants and/or agents who have lower standards of conduct.
Here are some of the projects CIL did in 2022 as part of our pro bono work:
- Assisting Ukrainians to come to Manitoba. We have been able to help many individuals and families. We reduced our fees and provided extensive support pro bono to these people to help them settle in Winnipeg and find all relevant social services.
- Acted as Legal Advisor for My Refugee Claim website – it was a privilege and an honour to be part of this amazing project. This is a resource that may be used by all refugee claimants in Canada as well as by anyone around the world who is interested in the Canadian refugee determination system. Many of the pages on the website recognize the work done by Clarke Immigration Law as well as the many other legal professionals across Canada.
- Board Member, John Howard Society Manitoba. Alastair has been serving on the Board for many years. JHS Manitoba is committed to reducing recidivism and to supporting individuals reintegrating in society. This organization does amazing work and certainly warrants pro bono services.
- Robson Hall, University of Manitoba. Again, Alastair has provided guest lectures to students at Robson Hall. This is unpaid work to foster an appreciation for the practice of immigration and refugee law.
- Public legal education at the request of the Winnipeg Public Library and the Community Legal Education Association, Law in the Library. We have had much positive feedback from these presentations which we have been doing, at no cost, for the public in Manitoba since 2015.
I would like to share a quote from a law student after Alastair Clarke gave a guest lecture:
Hello Mr. Clarke,
My name is Meseret, I’m one of Dr. Jaremko’s students at Robson Hall. Thank you for the insightful presentation. What you said about immigration and refugee lawyers really being a type of social workers resonated with me. Thank you for what you’re doing. As a former Government-sponsored refugee, it restores my faith in our legal system to know that there are people who do care.
To maintain the student’s confidentiality, I will not publish her last name. Hopefully, she will graduate and make a positive impact on the lives of her future clients!
In addition to the above, Clarke Immigration Law has also provided pro bono services to:
- Government of Manitoba, Immigration Advisory Council, at the request of Honorable Llyod Axworthy
- Anti Racism campaign, organized by SEED Winnipeg
- and other projects
In 2023, Alastair Clarke is scheduled to give a presentation to UFCW, local 832 regarding the intersection of immigration law and employment law. A donation from UFCW, local 832 will be sent to JHS Manitoba on behalf of Clarke Immigration Law for this service.