Joint Volunteer Recruitment Project to Offer Virtual Consumer Debt Support
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)
Type of Position
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.
About Calgary Legal Guidance
Calgary Legal Guidance Society is recognized as a leading pro bono organization since 1972. Providing legal guidance for homeless, Indigenous peoples and vulnerable Albertans and those who cannot afford Legal Aid. Calgary Legal Guidance offers a variety of programs, education, training and support. Visit www.clg.ab.ca.
About Pro Bono Law Alberta
Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) is a charitable organization that promotes access to justice in Alberta by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means. In addition, PBLA works with law firms to develop pro bono policies and projects, leverages pro bono resources in the community through work with other non-profit organizations, and fosters a culture of pro bono service in the legal profession.
About University of Calgary Law Public Interest Law Clinic
This teaching program at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law involves law students directly in systemic issues with a particular focus on the marginalized and the environment. Through law reform proposals, test litigation, research, writing and advocacy, PILC seeks a just legal system that values and respects all people and the environment. In the Consumer Debt Negotiation Project, trained volunteers will provide summary advice and, when appropriate, limited scope representation for negotiating with creditors and lenders with the aid of law students.
Interested in signing up or learning more, please visit http://albertadebtorsupport.ca/volunteer.html