Volunteers Needed – Approved Legal Services Providers
The Law Society offers a status known as active, pro bono. This status allows you to exclusively volunteer at an Approved Legal Services Provider (ALSP) and is the same annual cost as holding inactive status. You do not need to purchase indemnity coverage with an active, pro bono status. If you are considering making a status change or planning to retire, we encourage you to consider electing a pro bono status instead of an inactive status.
Read the volunteer needs below from ALSPs in Alberta. Under the Law Society’s ALSP program, these providers offer pro bono legal advice on various topics, allowing underserved individuals to receive the advice and support they need. If you are interested, consider volunteering with an ALSP to promote access to justice. Your contribution will help to alleviate some of the stress the pro bono legal community is facing as a result of the pandemic and current economic situation.
Alberta Prison Justice Society
The Alberta Prison Justice Society (APJS) is an organization devoted to addressing injustices in correctional institutions.
- Volunteers Needed: Any lawyers interested in prison justice issues.
- Volunteer Role: Assist in conducting research and forwarding legal applications of importance to incarcerated individuals.
- Time Commitment: Flexible depending on your availability and the specific issues the Society is working on.
- Contact: Email email@example.com for more information.
Calgary Legal Guidance
Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) provides legal assistance, information and support to people who would not otherwise have access to such services. Their free public legal advice and education, ID clinics and specialized legal programs help people navigate the legal system and understand their rights.
- Volunteers Needed: Family and immigration lawyers.
- Volunteer Role: Advise, inform and direct people through the legal system through meetings by phone (hoping to move to in-person meetings later in the year).
- Time Commitment: One to two two-hour shifts per month.
- Contact: Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic
The Community Legal Clinic offers free legal advice to people who qualify for the service. Their head office is located in Red Deer, however they also provide legal services throughout Central Alberta, as well as in Medicine Hat, Fort McMurray and Lloydminster.
- Volunteers Needed: Family or criminal law lawyers urgently needed.
- Volunteer Role: Provide summary legal advice to people in pre-booked appointments of 30 to 45 minutes over a two-hour period.
- Time Commitment: Monthly, but flexible depending on the needs of volunteers. Daytime or evening shifts available.
- Contact: Visit their website or email email@example.com for more information.
Edmonton Community Legal Centre
The Edmonton Community Legal Centre (ECLC) has been providing free legal advice to low-income individuals for 20 years, with the assistance of volunteer lawyers and articling students. It is supported by a multi-disciplinary team including staff lawyers, articling students, legal assistants, social workers, students and professionals with a range of backgrounds and education.
- Volunteers Needed: Urgent need for family and civil lawyers, as well as lawyers to provide civil litigation advice in a broad range of practice areas. Training can be provided on common topics encountered by low-income individuals. Articling students can volunteer to provide advice with the permission of their principal. ECLC provides shadowing and training opportunities.
- Volunteer Role: Meet with clients by telephone and provide summary legal advice on family, civil or immigration matters.
- Time Commitment: Weekly, biweekly or monthly for one to three hours per shift, meeting with three to four clients per month. Flexible day and evening times available for remote appointments.
- Contact: Visit their website or email Ruth Thangiah, Volunteer and Communications Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grande Prairie Legal Guidance
Grande Prairie Legal Guidance (GPLG) has been providing free legal advice to low-income individuals in the Grande Prairie region for over 13 years. Many lawyers in the Grande Prairie area serve as volunteers, providing advice to clients in all practice areas.
- Volunteers Needed: All practice areas are welcome, but there is a particular need for family law lawyers.
- Volunteer Role: Meet with clients by telephone and provide summary legal advice.
- Time Commitment: One one-hour shift per month, meeting with one or two clients per shift.
- Contact: Tanya Ruigrok, Program Coordinator, at email@example.com.
IntegralOrg offers education and support in governance, strategic planning, risk management, legal compliance and financial management for registered charities and non-profit organizations.
- Volunteers Needed: Lawyers interested in charities and non-profit law.
- Volunteer Role: Participate as a member of the legal committee; provide one-on-one clinics with organizations; assist with issue spotting and problem solving on various issues including legal regulatory matters; and review legal information in toolkits to be used by charities and non-profits on select issues of legal concern.
- Time Commitment: No fixed time commitment – set based on volunteer lawyer availability.
- Contact: Email or call Yvonne Chenier, QC at 587-323-4569 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lethbridge Legal Guidance
Lethbridge Legal Guidance provides legal services to vulnerable persons who cannot afford legal services and provides public legal information on a variety of law topics. They work to bridge the access to justice gap so individuals who are living in poverty are not further discriminated against and marginalized.
- Volunteers Needed: Family and criminal law lawyers.
- Volunteer Role: Provide clients with legal advice, guidance and direction, currently over the phone.
- Time Commitment: Thirty minutes per client, with up to five clients per session. Preference to commit to a handful of sessions a year (twice a year, quarterly, bi-monthly), but highly flexible.
- Contact: Visit their website.
Public Interest Law Clinic
The Public Interest Law Clinic’s (PILC) mission is to advocate effectively for systemic change that values and advances the well-being of the public and the environment. Its pop-up Covid-relief clinic, the Consumer Debt Negotiation Project, is entering its second and final year. PILC has an immediate need for volunteer lawyers with a background in the law relating to foreclosure and/or debt. For those with a substantive grounding but concerns about currency or range of competence, the Legal Education Society of Alberta hosts a free on-demand course to support this initiative for all volunteer counsel.
- Volunteers Needed: Up to five active or former lawyers and jurists eligible to be active for pro bono.
- Volunteer Role: To provide legal service summary advice and optional negotiation with creditors for debt and/or foreclosure matters, with the further option of providing mentorship and lawyer shadowing opportunities for law students assisting in the project.
- Time Commitment: Flexible, now until June 2022.
- Contact: email@example.com
Less acutely, in keeping with its broader mission to engage in legislative reform and strategic litigation to help public interest clients influence the direction of public law and policy, PILC has an ongoing need for constitutional litigation and public law lawyers to assist with test case development.
Volunteer Lawyer Services Program, Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA)
The Volunteer Lawyer Services Program is the umbrella program for PBLA’s pro bono programs and initiatives. It is comprised of three main sub-programs: The Volunteer Lawyer Services Roster (VLS Roster) Program, the Civil Claims Duty Counsel (CCDC) Project and the Queen’s Bench Court Assistance Program (QB Amicus). Read more about each program on their website.
- Volunteers Needed: Any active member of the Law Society, including articling students, can volunteer.
- Volunteer Role: Varies depending on program:
- VLS Roster Program: Assist non-profits and charities with discrete legal needs on full-scope or limited retainer basis.
- CCDC Project: Provide brief legal assistance to self-represented litigants with civil matters in the Provincial Court.
- QB Amicus: Provide brief legal assistance, including assistance in morning chambers, to self-represented litigants with civil matters at the Court of Queen’s Bench in Calgary and Edmonton.
- Time Commitment: No fixed time commitment – scheduling is flexible for the CCDC and QB Amicus Programs and lawyers determine scope and type of files they want to take for the VLS Roster Program.
- Contact: If you would like to be added to their volunteer base for any of these programs or other PBLA initiatives, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that the CCDC Project and QB Amicus Program are now running virtually, with services delivered using phone and videoconferencing platforms. Training and ongoing support is provided for volunteers.