The Advisory: Volume 9, Issue 1, March 2011

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“Raising the Pro Bono Bar” Events Designed To Engage Lawyers

By Kevin Feth, QC, Vice-President, Pro Bono Law Alberta and Bencher, Law Society of Alberta

PRO BONO LAW Alberta is again collaborating with the Canadian Bar Association to co-host “Raising the Pro Bono Bar” receptions across the province in 2011.

These events are aimed at engaging lawyers in pro bono service delivery at pro bono clinics and other organizations throughout the province. The receptions raise awareness about the value of pro bono service and the work being done at the clinic level to serve the public. Some of the receptions will also feature a volunteer recognition component to the program, acknowledging the contributions of current lawyer volunteers.

Events will be held in Edmonton, Calgary, Lethbridge, Red Deer and Grande Prairie over the next few months. All members of the profession are welcome to attend. Details are available at

Volunteer Lawyer Services Expansion Underway

Work continues on the expansion of Volunteer Lawyer Services (VLS), which will now match lawyers with individuals in need of pro bono services.

A nine-month pilot project will commence in April 2011. Pro Bono Law Alberta is actively recruiting lawyers who are prepared to be added to a roster identifying specific areas of practice in which they are prepared to make an offer of service. A VLS coordinator will ensure that individuals seeking assistance meet financial guidelines, then identify the specific type of legal services required, and match that individual to a lawyer willing to assist.

Funding for the pilot has been provided by the Law Society and the United Way. Lawyers interested in joining the roster or wanting additional information may contact Tracey Rumig or Gillian Marriott, QC at the Pro Bono Law Alberta office in Calgary at 403-541-4840.

Key Priorities Set in Updated PBLA Strategic Plan

Three priorities established for the 2010 year were carried forward in the updated Strategic Plan for Pro Bono Law Alberta, adopted by the PBLA Board of Directors on November 30, 2010:

  1. Create opportunities for Alberta lawyers to discharge their professional responsibilities to provide pro bono legal services;
  2. Raise the awareness of Alberta lawyers about the need for pro bono services and of the resources available to lawyers who are prepared to provide pro bono services; and
  3. Enhance the growth of pro bono culture within the Alberta bar.

Pro Bono Law Alberta will continue to support existing projects and programs, and work to create new opportunities to increase the scope and availability of pro bono legal services for low income Albertans.

Grande Prairie Legal Guidance Consolidated with Edmonton

Edmonton Community Legal Centre assumed responsibility for the operation of Grande Prairie Legal Guidance as of January 1, 2011. The consolidation is seen as a way to maximize efficiencies and reduce costs for both organizations.

Pro Bono Law Alberta established Grande Prairie Legal Guidance in November 2008, and over the past two years, the clinic has continued to grow as it serves the legal needs of people in that community.

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