Help for Not-for-Profits and Charities through Volunteer Lawyer Services
PBLA matches charitable organizations with volunteer lawyers through a project called Volunteer Lawyer Services (VLS).
Lawyers on our volunteer roster are available to provide assistance on legal issues that impact non profits and charities such as:
- employment law and contracts
- volunteer waivers
- charitable registration
From time to time, PBLA also develops legal partnership projects with select non profits and charities to provide legal services to individuals served by an organization.
If you would like more information on how PBLA can help your organization, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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When you have completed the VLS application form please send it to us by mail, email, or fax to 403-800-9319.
History of VLS
Volunteer Lawyer Services is a pro bono legal services program that was initiated in 1995 as a joint initiative of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, the Law Society of Alberta, the United Way of Calgary and Area and the Association of General Counsel of Alberta to assist registered charities and not-for-profit organizations who would otherwise not be able to receive these services due to a lack of financial resources.
VLS is currently funded by the United Way of Calgary and Area and the Law Society of Alberta.
VLS matches charitable organizations and low income individuals with volunteer lawyers who provide pro bono legal services which they would otherwise not receive due to a lack of financial resources. Lawyer volunteers include private practitioners, in-house counsel, government lawyers, students-at-law and retired lawyers and judges.
How does VLS work?
The VLS program has a roster of volunteer lawyers who are advised of requests for pro bono services, according to location and area of practice. VLS then provides the organization with the volunteer's contact information and they subsequently contact the volunteer directly. The volunteer decides whether to retain the applicant as a client and the scope of that retainer.
Who volunteers with VLS?
VLS lawyer volunteers come from every type of legal background. They range from recent law school graduates to the most seasoned lawyers, and include lawyers from large downtown firms to sole practitioners in rural Alberta. Diversity aside, they all have one thing in common: the desire to use their unique skills and talents to address the critical legal needs of low-income Albertans and non-profit organizations.
"Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) was the first organization to formally support Women Lawyers Joining Hands (WLJH), a start-up group of volunteers with a good idea but no assets or resources. By connecting the founders of Women Lawyers Joining Hands (WLJH) with a lawyer expert in the area of charities and not for profits, PBLA provided WLJH with the ability to create the legal entity and apply for the tax status required to turn its aspirations into actions. We cannot thank PBLA, its funders and our volunteer lawyer, Yvonne Chenier, Q.C., enough for their role in providing WLJH with a strong foundation to launch its legal education programs which will, in the spirit modeled by PBLA, be developed and delivered by lawyers on a pro bono basis." --Sheri Meyerhoffer, Co-Founder, Women Lawyers Joining Hands