Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG), Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) and the Public Interest Law Clinic at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law (PILC) are pleased to partner on a joint recruitment initiative with Judith Hanebury, QC, Retired Master of the Court of Queen’s Bench.
The joint recruitment drive aims to recruit active and retired lawyers and judges to provide virtual advice to Albertans dealing with debt. This project arose from a growing need for consumer debt support due widespread unemployment and other socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Now, more than ever, the importance of delivering pro bono legal support to Calgarians is paramount,” says Marina Giacomin, Executive Director of CLG. “As we enter our 49th year of providing free legal guidance to vulnerable Albertans, the rising number of clients we are seeing with employment matters, family matters including domestic violence, consumer debt and more are mounting as a result of the pandemic.”
“The provision of pro bono legal services is central to the ethics of the legal profession and Alberta lawyers have always stepped up, especially in times of crisis, to help individuals who cannot afford their fees” says Nonye Opara, Executive Director of PBLA. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has created barriers to accessing certain services, legal service providers continue to offer programming using creative virtual platforms together with robust training support that make it easy for lawyers to offer their unique services from anywhere and at anytime”.
Retired lawyers and judges are invited to first apply for Active for Pro Bono status through the Law Society of Alberta to volunteer. Active lawyers may begin the Debtor Support Training online by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Retired judges or lawyers can begin the training while they await approval.
After training, volunteers can select a service provider based on their interests, between CLG, PBLA and PILC.
“The contribution of willing and well-trained volunteers is going to be critical for addressing the needs of struggling Albertans, right now and for a good stretch of time to come,” says Christine Laing, Executive Director of PILC.
The joint recruitment will focus on Calgary-area volunteers during its pilot phase, which runs from October 2020 to April 2020, with plans to extend training and volunteer opportunities province-wide by Spring 2021.