By volunteering with PBSC UCalgary as a supervising lawyer, you can demonstrate to our student volunteers what it means to uphold the pro bono ethic.
Pro Bono Ethic
The goal of PBSC is to provide much-needed services to underrepresented communities and organizations across Canada. Since its creation, PBSC has accomplished both of these goals and helped to enrich relationships among law schools, the profession, and disadvantaged communities. By exposing law students to the value of pro bono service, PBSC aims to encourage the next generation of lawyers to make pro bono service an everyday part of their practice.
Help train and mentor future lawyers by sharing the skills and knowledge you have developed through your own practice.
Contribute to reducing the access to justice issue in Calgary by using your skills to assist disadvantaged groups.
PBSC UCalgary can help you become more informed on the access to justice gaps that exist within the Calgary community.
PBSC students volunteer approximately 3-5 hours per week, five months of the year: October, November, January, February and March, for a total of 60-100 hours. Students are not expected to work during exam periods or reading week. All projects need to wrap up by the last week of classes of the winter term.
Given this compressed timeline, it is critical that lawyer supervisors provide their feedback promptly, to ensure students will have time to make revisions and move the project along to completion within this brief, five-month window.
Important Dates & Deadlines
Deadline to register as a supervising lawyer
End of Sept
Project work begins
End of Mar
Project work ends
Students break for exams
Project work resumes
April - August
PBSC UCalgary Chapter prepares the projects for the following year
Our PBSC projects range from 1 – 20 students per project. Please contact PBSC UCalgary to discuss the number of student volunteers on the project that you are overseeing.
Generally speaking, we ask you to be responsive and to maintain regular contact with your student(s). Specifically, this includes meeting with the student(s) at least once early in each academic term and at the end of the project; holding all meetings in person, except for projects that are being supervised remotely or where it is not possible for any other reason to meet in person, in which case the lawyer supervisor and volunteer(s) should communicate over the phone; to be available periodically during the course of the project as reasonably required to answer questions of a legal nature, to provide guidance relevant to the project, and to review and provide feedback on the work product of the PBSC volunteer(s); and to complete in a timely fashion a final evaluation of the student(s).
Yes. All lawyer supervisors must sign a Lawyer Supervisor Agreement Form which sets out our expectations and confirms that all supervising lawyers registered have the appropriate professional liability insurance that extends to their role as a supervising lawyer.
The PBSC Program Coordinator will contact you by phone once in November and once in February as part of the project monitoring process. In order to make this monitoring process effective, it is vital that the monitoring calls take place within the planned time frame. Accordingly, we ask you to promptly return emails attempting to schedule a monitoring call. These calls typically take less than 10 minutes, and it is vitally important that we know whether things are going smoothly on your project. We also ask that you not wait until the monitoring process and notify your local PBSC Office with any concerns which come to your attention regarding the student or the project.
Every Law Society in Canada has a policy regarding the Continuing Professional Development of lawyers. In some provinces CPD is mandatory and in others it is merely recommended. In some cases supervision of a PBSC placement can counts as CPD. While PBSC makes every effort to keep up with the policies of every Law Society, please refer to your province’s policy to determine whether your work with our organization counts as part of your CPD.
PBSC relies on your feedback to strengthen our program, and report to our funders. In mid March we will send you a satisfaction survey to fill out. Please be sure to take a moment to complete the survey and provide us with your impressions of our program – we welcome both positive feedback and constructive criticism.
“Acting as a supervising lawyer for the PBSC Trans ID Clinic in Calgary has been an incredibly rewarding experience. In our first six months of the project, we assisted approximately 100 clients. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the dedicated and passionate students from the University of Calgary on this important initiative.”
Brendan MacArthur-Stevens, Associate, Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP
Supervising Lawyer on the Trans ID Clinic
It has been, and continues to be, an honour to serve as a supervising lawyer for the PBSC’s Indigenous Youth Outreach Program. The role that pro bono programs play in our community is incredibly important, and I appreciate the opportunity to help those with legal needs, alongside hardworking students who are committed to doing pro bono work and facilitating access to justice.
Associate, McCarthy Tétrault, Supervising Lawyer on the Indigenous Youth Outreach Project
Human Rights Project
Students will support volunteer lawyers as they provide legal assistance to self-represented claimants and respondents before the Alberta Human Rights Commission. Students will have the opportunity to interview clients and conduct legal research. The Alberta Human Rights Act establishes the Alberta Human Rights Commission to carry out functions under the Act. The purpose of the Alberta Human Rights Act is to ensure that all Albertans are offered an equal opportunity to earn a living, find a place to live, and enjoy services customarily available to the public without discrimination.
Queen’s Bench Amicus Project
In collaboration with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), this project assists self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil claims in Calgary’s Queen’s Bench Masters and Justice Chambers. Volunteer lawyers act as amicus curiae and appear in morning chambers to assist SRLs. This project also includes a “storefront” afternoon shift where SRLs can receive summary legal information regarding civil matters. Students participate by providing assistance with triage, client intake, client evaluation, research, and completion of project documentation and court forms. Students can also assist with procedural matters in morning chambers, thereby having an opportunity to practice oral advocacy and provide legal or referral information.
Civil Claims Duty Counsel
In collaboration with Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA), this civil litigation project assists self-represented litigants (SRLs) with their civil claims in Provincial Court. Students on this project assist volunteer lawyers (all major Calgary firms participate in this project - so this is a great networking opportunity) in interviewing clients, providing clients with legal information, and assisting in filling out the required documentation.
Trans ID Clinic
PBSC’s Trans ID Clinic is run in partnership with the Skipping Stone Foundation and supervising lawyers from Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. Skipping Stone is a Calgary-based not-for-profit whose mission is to support and empower trans and gender diverse youth and their families in the province of Alberta. The Trans ID Clinic provides free legal information, form-filling services, and referrals in a learning space that strives to be trans-positive, non-judgemental, anti-oppressive, and inclusive. Students on this project will assist members of the trans community with applications to change names and gender markers on government-issued identification.
Get Involved with Us
Make a difference in our legal community, become an ambassador for the pro bono ethic.