Unique joint initiative provides greater access to legal services and representation to safeguard the future of Calgary’s underprivileged youth.

Calgary, AB (October 30, 2007) – Children and youth in Calgary and surrounding areas have the opportunity to access free legal assistance, representation, and legal education through the newly announced Child Advocacy Pro Bono Project.

The new project was founded through a new joint initiative with national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, the Children’s Legal Education Resource Centre (CLERC), brokered by Pro Bono Law Alberta, to help vulnerable children and youth access fundamental legal services they would otherwise be unable to access or pay for in a variety of civil law matters.

'BLG is committed to supporting our local communities, and is very proud to be a founding member of such an important initiative,' said David Whelan, Managing Partner at BLG Calgary. 'BLG professionals personally commit their expertise and time with various pro bono projects across Canada to support such causes. The Child Advocacy Pro Bono Project will provide greater access to legal services for underprivileged children in Alberta.'

BLG’s involvement in the project is being coordinated locally by BLG partner Bruce Churchill-Smith. As part of the firm’s national pro bono policy and commitment to the project, lawyers from BLG’s Calgary office will volunteer their time to help represent qualifying children and youth in civil law cases identified by the Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre. To date, BLG lawyers have already assisted on two separate civil cases related to the project.

'CLERC is extremely pleased to be working with BLG,' said Dale Hensley, Executive Director Children's Legal and Educational Resource Centre. 'With BLG’s support, CLERC’s capacity to assist young people with legal problems will be greatly increased. Whether we are assisting young people with access to education, avoiding unlawful eviction, acquiring final pay cheques or ensuring young people acquire their rightful inheritances, BLG’s involvement and support will greatly enhance our service delivery to these vulnerable youth. The young people we serve struggle with legal issues well beyond their capacity to manage alone and have no where else to turn for legal support."

'As the first pro bono project brokered by Pro Bono Law Alberta, we could not have asked for a better first example of what the projects and programs of Pro Bono Law Alberta hope to accomplish,' said Rod Jerke, QC, President of Pro Bono Law Alberta. 'This project brings together the needs of a vulnerable group (children) together with a major law firm that provides the legal expertise for representation, education and research on a pro bono basis in Calgary.'

The Law Society of Alberta established Pro Bono Law Alberta as a 100th anniversary legacy project. This non-profit organization promotes access to justice in Alberta by creating opportunities for lawyers to provide free legal services to persons of limited means.

Borden Ladner Gervais LLP is a leading, full-service, integrated national law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions for our clients. With more than 700 lawyers, intellectual property agents and other professionals in Calgary, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Waterloo Region, clients turn to us for assistance with their legal needs, from major litigation to corporate finance and patent registration. For more information, visit www.blg.com.

Children’s Legal and Educational Resource Centre (CLERC) is a charitable organization committed to providing legal advice, education and representation to children and youth who are unable to access legal support.

Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) is a newly formed (March 2007) nonprofit organization that promotes access to justice in Alberta by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono (free) legal services to persons of limited means. PBLA was formed as the legacy project in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Law Society of Alberta. For more information, visit www.pbla.com


Tricia Weagant
Ketchum Public Relations Canada (for BLG)
416 355 7418

Susan Billington

Dale Hensley