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The Consumer Debt Negotiation Project: Pairing Law Students with Volunteer Lawyers

An incredible project is underway at the University of Calgary Law School. The consumer debt negotiation project is looking to simultaneously assist recent law school graduates who are without an articling position, and provide support by way of legal services to Albertans struggling amongst debt in light of the economic downturn as a result of the global pandemic.

The consumer debt negotiation project is part of a teaching program through the Public Interest Law Clinic at the University of Calgary. Christine Laing, Executive Director of the Public Interest Law Clinic, estimates that more than 50 law students across our province have been unable to secure articling positions. As quoted in the recent article with Canadian Lawyer, she goes on to say,

…the COVID-19 pandemic has hit Albertans hard … layoffs, job losses and business closures have all triggered financial chaos in the province.” Christine Laing

One of the goals of the consumer debt negotiation project is to enlist volunteer lawyers to work alongside law students to support clients who could not otherwise pay for legal services. With crowdfunding underway, the goal is to raise $25,000 to give one student the opportunity to work part-time for approximately four to six months, with a view to raising more money following “proof of concept” to further assist both law students and the general public alike.

LESA is honoured and pleased to host the online training for those volunteer lawyers who might want to revisit debt-related legal issues.

As Laing was quoted in the Canadian Lawyer, “We’re not frontline workers, we’re not essential services, but lawyers are part of society and we know we can step up and put or skills to public good when needed.”

If you are a lawyer and interested in becoming a volunteer for this project, please click here for details.

If you are interested in contributing to this great initiative, please click here.