Client Spotlight: Calgary Legal Guidance – Fund Development Committee

Following on the heels of a successful strategic planning process conducted all alone, our Associate Rebecca Finley-Schidlowsky worked with CLG’s Fund Development Committee Chair Heidi Exner and Staff Member Paula Arnold to implement new strategies and processes into the Committee. To support CLG’s refreshed vision of “Guiding vulnerable Albertans through the legal system”, the Committee has new ideas on how to develop sustainable funding sources with an emphasis on nurturing and growing strong relationships within the community. The enthusiasm amongst Committee members is truly infectious and Rebecca thoroughly enjoyed working alongside Heidi, Paula, and the rest of the Team. We are excited to see this Committee continue to soar! Congratulations to all!

“I think we are poised to take all of your amazing help and fly now! We will have bumps along the way, but you have done a truly incredible job getting us to a good point to pursue our goals. It has been a treat to work with you.”

– Heidi Exner, Fund Development Committee Chair

Our Work with CLG:

The Finley Team was originally hired by CLG’s Board to support the organization with its strategic planning and Board governance. Over the course of several strategic planning sessions, the Board worked to refresh CLG’s strategic framework and develop an exciting new direction for the organization. Our work grew to include governance support to several Committees including rewriting the Bylaws. CLG’s work is critical to our community and we were honoured to work with them! Special thanks to their amazing Executive Director, Marina Giacomin, for all of her effort and enthusiasm!!

CLG’s Story:

A handful of students-at-law attending the University of Alberta were nearing the end of their 1970/71 academic year and planning their summer vacation. All residents of Calgary, they recognized there was a lack of free legal services available for low income people living in Calgary so began a project to extend access to justice to individuals needing legal support.

The project mandate was to provide legal advice and assistance to people with low incomes and ineligible to receive legal aid because their problems were not covered by the Legal Aid Plan of Alberta. Original funding for their eight week summer project known as Student Legal Services, was provided by Imperial Oil and the Provincial Student Employment Program. Four law students were employed for a total of eight weeks and were supervised by two Calgary lawyers.

Office space was obtained with the assistance of the executive assistant to the Mayor of Calgary, Rod Sykes. Donations from Calgary Law Firms, Corporations and individuals were collected and paid the monthly rent and telephone expenses for this summer project. 31 Calgary lawyers volunteered during that summer. Following the summer of 1971, the project was temporarily discontinued until the summer of 1972 while the students returned to University.

Recognizing that community members encountered legal issues year round, Governance was established, and on February 14, 1972 the Society was incorporated.

In 1972 five law students were hired under a Federal Government Opportunity for Youth grant to continue the previous summer’s project under the name Calgary Community Legal Services. A grant from the Federal Department of Justice enabled the fledgling Society to continue operation during the fall and winter months of 1972. The first full time employee was hired and 35 lawyers volunteered

during this year. Over 800 legal problems were handled. Students began to represent persons in Provincial Court (Criminal Division), Small Claims Court and in Family Court as agents.

In 1977 the name changed to Calgary Legal Guidance, but the mandate to provide equal access to justice to financially disadvantaged Calgarians has remained constant.

Learn more:

To indicate your interest and learn more, reach out to us today.