Gain practical experience and introduce yourself to a nation-wide legal community.

What We Do

PBSC selects student volunteers in their 1st, 2nd and 3rd years of law school in the Faculty of Law at the University of Calgary. Participating students can gain practical experience while working with national and local organizations involved in public interest legal work.

In addition to arranging placements for interested students, PBSC promotes a pro bono ethic on campus by inviting guest lecturers to speak on non-traditional public interest legal careers, encouraging community involvement through public advocacy, offering public legal education, and urging social and professional responsibility.

In today’s competitive employment market, participating in PBSC gives law students an edge. Not only will volunteering for PBSC make your resume stand out, more importantly, you are contributing to the Calgary community by assisting marginalized individuals and non-profit organizations.

Train Future Lawyers

Develop practical legal skills and supervised learning opportunities while working with community organizations and a national law firm.

Access to Justice

Apply what you learn in the classroom to assist low-income individuals and non-profit organizations in our community.


Network with members of the public legal interest sector in Calgary including lawyers, judges, government agencies, and tribunals.


Explore a variety of career options and increase your knowledge surrounding the access to justice crisis in our community.

Why Volunteer?

  • PBSC has projects covering many areas of law including civil, family, criminal, human rights, immigration, indigenous, administrative, and youth law.

  • PBSC projects provide students with opportunities to network with professionals in the legal and public interest communities, including: lawyers, judges, national law firms, and public interest organizations.

  • PBSC projects vary in the necessary time commitment. A minimum of 1-3 hours/week and a maximum of 5 hours/week is expected of student volunteers.

  • PBSC projects are easily manageable alongside academic demands.

  • PBSC volunteers are provided with free legal research training by WestLaw.


A student is required to volunteer between 3-5 hours a week on their project during the academic year. Projects usually last from late September to March (with a break in December for exams).

Once a match is made, students are required to attend three training sessions at the beginning of the academic year and sign an agreement form committing to act professionally, ethically, and maintain accountability for project work.

During the school year, students will be required to meet regularly with their project leaders and partner organizations. Student volunteers will be asked to fill out evaluation forms periodically during the year to see how placements are going and what support the PBSC office can provide.

A student who is unable to meet a deadline or attend a scheduled meeting must clearly inform the affected organization so that alternative arrangements can be made.

Beyond that, students can expect to have fun and learn practical skills that will help them in their careers as lawyers.

Online applications are open annually from the beginning of September until mid September. Complete our short online application here to indicate the top 3 projects that you are interested and why you would be a great fit for those projects.

Yes! All our PBSC projects are open to 1L students with the exception of the Queen’s Bench Amicus Project.

Each year we have approximately 120-130 spaces available for student volunteers.

Students are expected to volunteer 3-5 hours per week on their project. Some projects offer more flexible schedules allowing students to manage their time accordingly, however other projects offer scheduled shifts and require students to volunteer at a specific time weekly or bi-weekly. Overall, PBSC projects are easily manageable alongside academic demands.

We ask that students apply to work on 1 project for the fall semester. If you have available time in your schedule during the winter semester, please email us ( in January and we will check if there is a project that requires additional volunteers.

No. PBSC UCalgary does not accept new volunteers during the winter semester as all of our mandatory training sessions are only offered in September and October each year. If you are interested in volunteering, please apply through our annual online application released in early September.

After a student has been notified of their placement, there are 3 mandatory training sessions that they must attend in September and October:

  • PBSC Process Overview

  • PBSC Ethics and Professional Responsibility Training

  • Westlaw Research Strategies Training

Current Projects

CLG Indigenous Legal Information Project

With assistance from Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG), students will participate in the creation of public legal education materials focused on areas of law most often affecting Indigenous populations. Students will research common legal issues and create three public legal education resources and one public legal education workshop to assist CLG’s Indigenous Outreach Program. These materials will be provided to Indigenous clients obtaining assistance from Calgary Legal Guidance. Research topics will include: Indian Day Schools Class Action; Wills (Urban and On-Reserve); Voting Off-Reserve; and Applying for a Pardon.

Not In My City Project

The volunteer organization Not In My City (NIMC) was founded by Canadian Country Music Artist Paul Brandt. NIMC targets sexual exploitation and human trafficking in specific locations in Canada. One of the goals of the organization is to make it harder for individuals to use cyberspace for the illegal purposes of human trafficking, sharing child pornography, etc. NIMC recognizes that many jurisdictions are currently struggling to keep up with the ever-changing nature of technology, especially in regard to the internet and social media/hosting platforms. Left unchecked, these platforms have allowed those who seek to abuse vulnerable persons and profit from human trafficking a virtual space to do so, most dangerously through the uploading and sharing of child pornography. Students on this project will work together to research the role of telecommunications law and the regulatory regime in deterring cyber communications that allow for human trafficking to operate. They will work with the Supervising Lawyer and members of NIMC to review domestic and international legislation, identify distinctions and contrast other jurisdictional law with that of Canadian legislation, and to identify changes that could be advocated for at the federal and possibly provincial level by NIMC.

Indigenous Youth Outreach Project

Students in this project will deliver 5 workshops to high school students at Siksika Outreach School. The workshops prepare students to participate in a final mock trial at the Siksika Nation Provincial Court where they will play the roles of clients, lawyers, witnesses, jurors, and court clerks. The goal of the program is to provide Indigenous students with the opportunity to expand their understanding of the justice system, develop critical thinking and leadership skills, and to dream big about their educational goals. The curriculum for the project has been developed specifically for Indigenous youth by the Ontario Justice Education Network and LEVEL. Students assigned to this project will attend a cultural education training session in October in order to deliver effective presentations in accordance with Indigenous customs.

Elementary School Mock Trial

Students in this project will deliver a 4-workshop series of presentations to students at 2-4 elementary schools within Calgary to prepare them to participate in an interactive mock trial. The elementary students will play the roles of clients, lawyers, and witnesses. PBSC students will be tasked with developing creative and interactive teaching methods to deliver the content to the students. There will also be an opportunity to accompany the youth on a tour of the Calgary Courts Centre and the McCarthy Tétrault LLP Office. Each student volunteer will be expected to attend at least one workshop per semester.

Get Involved with Us

Join 120+ student volunteers to gain legal experience and increase access to justice in our community