Canadian Bar Association Alberta

November 29, 2007 13:45 ET

Canadian Bar Association Alberta Encourages Not-For-Profit Groups to Enrol in Free Legal Services Program

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 29, 2007) - The Canadian Bar Association Alberta's Volunteer Lawyers Service (VLS) program is actively seeking not-for-profit organizations to match with Alberta lawyers for free legal services and advice.

"We invite all registered Alberta charities and not-for-profit groups to enrol in this free legal services program," says Michele Hollins, president of the Canadian Bar Association Alberta. "Lawyers are available to assist in matters involving charities law, business law, administrative law, civil litigation, labour, and employment, human rights and tax law."

VLS assists registered charities and organizations defined under the Income Tax Act who show a demonstrable need for free legal advice. Interested charities - from anywhere in Alberta - should apply by filling out a form available through the United Way of Calgary and Area, which is forwarded to the Canadian Bar Association Alberta for coordination, matching and follow-up.

The VLS has increased the outreach of its services by an amazing 358 percent since November 2004. In addition to meeting increased awareness and efficiency goals, the program has also initiated workshops that are facilitated by lawyers for not-for-profit organizations with similar legal matters.

The lawyers of Alberta are dedicated to increasing their commitment to pro bono and VLS is just one of the ways that lawyers are giving back to the community. A recent Canadian Bar Association Alberta Task Force on Community Responsibility showed that individual lawyers devote an average of 120 volunteer hours annually, or over three weeks a year, toward volunteering their time, skills and expertise as lawyers to individuals and community organizations. This is a significant contribution and does not take into account the financial support that most firms give their communities.

The Volunteer Lawyers Service (VLS) is a joint initiative of the Canadian Bar Association Alberta, the Law Society of Alberta, United Way of Calgary and Area, and the Association of General Counsel of Alberta, which spearheaded the service in 1995.

For VLS applications and eligibility information, please contact:
United Way of Calgary and Area
Phone: (403) 231-6265

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