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Lisa D. Belcourt honoured for creating Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) free legal clinic

CALGARY – Midland, Ont. lawyer Lisa D. Belcourt has been chosen as the Canadian Bar Association’s (CBA) 2007 Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award winner for outstanding services benefiting the community. Belcourt, a partner with Ontario law firm Ferguson Barristers LLP, was honoured for dedicating much of her time and energy to providing pro bono legal advice to those with physical disabilities and her role in creating the Ferguson Barristers Canadian Paraplegic Association (CPA) free legal clinic.

Lisa’s work in providing and expanding the availability of pro bono legal advice for one of society’s vulnerable communities is outstanding,” said Annette Horst, Chair of the Young Lawyers-CBA. “Her commitment to pro bono work is an inspiration to all lawyers – both young and more senior.”

Along with CPA director Linda Kenney, Belcourt was responsible for the creation of the joint-ventur free legal clinic in Toronto, a two-and-a-half hour drive from Midland. The clinic, where legal advice is provided by Belcourt and her colleagues on a monthly basis, deals with a range of legal problems, from wills and estates to landlord-tenant issues to guardianship and powers of attorney.

In addition, Belcourt donates her legal services free of charge to a number of organizations with which she’s involved. She has served as a member of the board of the Simcoe County Association for the Physically Disabled, where she also acted as pro bono legal counsel from 1998 to 2004, including a stint as chairperson from 2001 to 2003. She currently serves on the board of Community Living Huronia, where she provides pro bono advice and legal counsel to the board.

Belcourt began her legal career as a receptionist for Ferguson Barristers. She worked her way through legal secretary and then law clerk, graduating in 1997 from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. She was made a partner at Ferguson Barristers in 2007. Belcourt is married with two young children.

The CBA Young Lawyers Pro Bono Award recognizes outstanding pro bono publico (“for the public good”) legal services to the community by a Canadian lawyer who is younger than 40 years old or who  has been in practice for fewer than 10 years. It takes the form of a $1,500 cash prize.

The award will be presented at the Closing Lunch, hosted by the Young Lawyers-CBA, on Tuesday, Aug. 14 in the Telus Convention Centre, Macleod A, Calgary, as part of the 2007 Canadian Legal Conference, Aug. 12-14. The event is open to accredited media who have registered with the CBA Media Centre.

The Canadian Bar Association is dedicated to improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 37,000 lawyers, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.

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