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.
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.
Important Dates & Deadlines
Mandatory Training Date PBSC Process Overview – 4:00pm – 4:45pm in MFH 2370
Mandatory Training Date PBSC Ethics and Professional Responsibility Training – 12pm – 1pm in MFH
End of Sept
Project work commences
Mandatory Training Date Westlaw Research Strategies Training 12pm – 2pm in MFH 2370
Oct – Nov
Project work continues
Break for exams
Project work commences for the winter term
Jan – Feb
Project work continues
End of Project Work
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
“PBSC was a fantastic opportunity to develop research, presentation, and communication skills that will prove invaluable later in my practice as a lawyer!”
Canada-US Immigration Research Policy Project Volunteer, 2018-2019
"PBSC has provided me with a great opportunity to volunteer outside of law school, while learning practical client management skills and helping me connect with the broader legal community!"
Project Leader for Civil Claims Duty Counsel, 2019-2020
"Working with PBSC was a fantastic experience. I found the Indigenous Youth Outreach Program far more rewarding than I anticipated. It taught me how to articulate the law in a more accessible way and, more rewarding than that, I got to see my work have a real positive effect on the lives of others. Needless to say, I would highly recommend joining PBSC to all law students."
Indigenous Youth Outreach Volunteer, 2018-2019
Get Involved with Us
Join 120+ student volunteers to gain legal experience and increase access to justice in our community