Pro Bono Law Alberta celebrated 5 years of creating and promoting pro bono opportunities for Alberta lawyers on June 21, 2012, at the Art Gallery of Calgary.
Highlights of the event included a recap of the projects and partnerships launched by PBLA in 2011-2012, and the presentation of new educational videos that will provide self represented litigants with easy to understand information in the areas of landlord/tenant, civil claims, foreclosure and basic courtroom etiquette and what to expect when going to court.
The videos will be distributed to courthouses, law information centres and other organizations in the summer of 2012. The videos have been created in partnership with Canadian Bar Association Alberta, with support from Alberta Law Libraries, Alberta Law Foundation and Alberta Justice.
In addition to describing the video project, PBLA celebrated the success of its other key initiative in 2011-2012 – the Civil Claims Duty Counsel (CCDC) project. CCDC has operated in the Calgary Court Centre since October 2011, and in the Edmonton Court Centre since January 2012. The CCDC project provides an opportunity for volunteer lawyers and law students to engage with the public and assist in matters at civil claims court. There are currently eight firms involved in Calgary and nine in Edmonton.
Closing remarks were delivered by The Honourable A.H. Lefever, Deputy Chief Judge. Judge Lefever thanked the Law Society of Alberta and Alberta Law Foundation, the primary funders of PBLA, as well as all those who have travelled with PBLA over the past five years. The pro bono community has grown and continues to evolve as more lawyers become engaged in pro bono service.
Guests were given a keepsake ‘timeline’ which outlines the pro bono path and key events on the journey. PBLA looks forward to continuing to work with our pro bono colleagues in creating innovative ways for lawyers to become involved in increasing access to justice for those who have limited resources.