SLA's primary service is our on-site legal clinic. In an effort to increase access to legal information for Calgarians, SLA also operates three outreach clinics at the Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Centre, the Calgary Dream Centre and the Calgary Urban Project Society.
In addition, SLA participates in the First Appearance Resource Individual Project (FARI) with the Youth and Criminal Defence office of Legal Aid. As part of this project, SLA Caseworkers provide legal information to accused youth before they attend a preliminary meeting with Alberta Justice. Also, SLA introduced a new initiative this year in partnership with Alberta Justice in Calgary, called the Trial Confirmation Project. Similarly, Caseworkers offer free legal information to accused persons at the Calgary Court Centre.
SLA is open year round. Caseworkers are not available to make court appearances during exam periods.
Fall Clinic: October 1, 2013 - November 29, 2013
Winter Clinic: January 9, 2014- March 28, 2014
Summer Clinic: May 12, 2014 - August 15, 2014Student Caseworkers
Over 130 University of Calgary law students volunteer as Legal Caseworkers with SLA. Most Caseworkers are first year students, although the trial advocacy division is largely operated by second and third year students. Students participate in the SLA program alongside their full-time academic studies.Support from the Legal Community
The services offered by SLA would not be possible were it not for the generous support from the Calgary legal community.
Some 120 lawyers donate their time and expertise through consultation at our legal clinics, answering Caseworker questions over the phone and participating in various initiatives. Through their involvement, this group of lawyers helps Caseworkers to maintain the integrity and totality of our legal assistance.
In addition, SLA is fortunate to receive support from the Provincial Crown’s Office and Provincial Judiciary through the patience and professional courtesy they extended our Caseworkers. We value their understanding as Caseworkers endeavor to refine their legal skills.
ü 22,870 individuals have received legal assistance from SLA*
ü 21,936 court appearances have been made by SLA Caseworkers*
ü 2,935 law students have volunteered with SLA*
ü 2,995 lawyers have volunteered with SLA◊
ü 2,115 trials have been conducted by SLA Caseworkers≈
ü 40,000 hours of legal work has been logged by SLA Caseworkers♦
ü $8,500,000 in legal assistance provided by SLA caseworkers at no charge to clients♦
* since 1982 ◊ since 1992 ≈ since 1994 ♦ since 2002History
SLA has a long and proud history in the Calgary community. Founded in 1979, SLA began as an entirely student-run organization. With meager resources and infinite will, year after year University of Calgary law students worked with members in the community who were otherwise unable to get help with their legal matters. As the demand for legal assistance grew so did the number of volunteer students. To provide a greater sense of continuity, a community-based Board of Directors was established in 1994, which continues to provide strategic direction to this day. SLA moved into its current location in 2007. The current office space is generously donated by the University of Calgary Faculty of Law and provides the necessary meeting and working space for Caseworkers and clients to meet comfortably and confidentially.
Over the years, SLA Caseworkers have pursued legal careers in various areas of the law and practice, including Crown Prosecution, the criminal defence bar, family and civil litigation and corporate law. Since 1984, nine previous SLA members have been appointed to the Bench: Judge Anne Brown, Justice Paul Jeffrey, Judge Todd LaRochelle, Judge Richard O’Gorman, Justice Pat Rowbotham, Judge Catherine Skene, Judge David St. Pierre, Judge Vic Tousignant, and Judge Harry Van Harten.
As a charitable organization, SLA relies on funding to be able to offer our services. SLA receives funding dollars from the Alberta Law Foundation and through the Students' Union at the University of Calgary. It would not be possible for SLA to provide these much-needed legal services to the Calgary area community without this funding.
SLA also organizes fundraising initiatives to generate necessary dollars, including the annual SLA Charity Golf Tournament, bi-annual AGLC casino and fundraising dinners. In addition, SLA applies for annual grants from the Canada Summer Jobs and Summer Temporary Employment Programs, through the federal and provincial governments respectively.
In addition, SLA office space is generously donated the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. Several SLA initiatives are sponsored by legal firms and practitioners, including Borden Ladner Gervais LLP and OSLER LLP who have sponsored the annual trial competition event.
Lastly, SLA welcomes private donations which can be made by completing the donation slip on our Donate page.
Thank you to our funders and donors:
Depending on the type of legal issue, a one-time disbursement charge of $30 or $50 is payable prior to opening a new client file. This charge helps the organization recover a portion of costs related to the management of client files. SLA does not charge a fee for the legal service provided. The disbursement is payable by cash or cheque.Governance
SLA is governed by a Board of Directors comprised of members from the legal community and community at large. The Board sets the strategic direction of the organization and oversees budgetary and policy affairs. Half of the 10 Board Members are elected at each annual general meeting and serve a two year term.
2012 SLA Student Executive
As a committee of the Board of Directors, the SLA Student Executive is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization. Within its mandate, the 9 member Executive recruits, organizes, and trains student volunteers, manages clinic logistics, administers initiatives and oversees community relations. Executive members are elected by their fellow student members during annual elections.