Celebrating 50 Years of Pro Bono in Alberta.

Calgary Legal Guidance started in 1972 through the work of law students wanting to help people experiencing poverty and homelessness in the city.

A half century ago, a group of law students decided to do something to help the many people experiencing poverty and homelessness in Calgary, Alberta. Before Legal Aid Alberta or any other pro bono clinic existed, Calgary Legal Guidance (CLG) was born.

"I was proud to learn that CLG pre-dates any other low bono or pro bono legal service in Alberta!" says Marina Giacomin, CLG's Executive Director since 2016. She added:

While I've always been in awe of the work our volunteer lawyers and non-profit lawyers do, I just hadn't really considered that we were the first ones in this province to try to help people access justice through free lawyers when they had no where else to turn. That handful of law students back in 1971 understood that the law was not accessible to everyone, and they led the way for CLG to help thousands of people with free legal support every year for the past fifty years. Calgary Legal Guidance has been a leader in offering unique legal programs through a trauma-informed lens to thousands of vulnerable Albertans. Today, almost 200 lawyers volunteer at CLG's summary legal advice clinics. The demand for services has increased as Calgary has grown, and the continuing pandemic has made it necessary for pro bono clinics to deliver legal services in different ways.

In the last year alone, CLG received over 14,000 calls for help. And the award-winning Domestic Violence Family Law Program has helped hundreds of survivors who have been at even greater risk because of being unable to leave abusive situations during the pandemic.

Another award-winning program at Calgary Legal Guidance is the Indigenous access to justice support offered through the Sahwoo mohkaak tsi ma taas (Blackfoot for "Before Being Judged") program. The first of its kind in Alberta, it has helped several local Indigenous people and those in nearby communities. The program provides free legal support...

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