It all started when...
A group of 14 law students at the University of Alberta were inspired by the student assistance clinics emerging in Canada and the United States, and decided to start their own. Student Legal Services officially opened on May 1, 1969 and so began the Summer of ’69. In the first four months, SLS handled over 100 cases ranging from criminal matters to welfare and tenancy disputes.
Since the Summer of ’69, SLS has grown, developed, and made history in both the City of Edmonton and Canada. Since purchasing a school bus for its permanent office and painting it in psychedelic colours, our organization now calls East Campus House home.
SLS now has four projects and two office locations: on campus (East Campus House) and downtown (Corona Office). It is governed by a Board of Directors, which is made up of practicing lawyers and students-at-law. Day-to-day activities are supervised by a student Management Committee, elected annually by SLS volunteers.
Each year, over 250 students from the University of Alberta's Faculty of Law volunteer with SLS to provide legal information and assist with legal matters in Provincial Court. During the summer, SLS employs 28 law students who work as student caseworkers on various civil, family, and criminal matters.
Our mission is to enable University of Alberta law students to provide free legal information and assistance to the low income community in Edmonton and to contribute to legal reform and legal education efforts as they impact on poverty law issues.
- We believe that law students can provide legal information and assistance to individuals who otherwise would be unable to obtain assistance with legal problems.
- We believe that law students gain valuable experience by applying their education in assisting individuals with legal problems.
- We believe that law students must not attempt to do legal work that should be done by a lawyer.
Student Legal Services strives to provide:
- Committed volunteers who are well trained, properly supervised and fairly evaluated.
- A culture of sincere desire to help people who qualify for our services without passing judgement on the correctness of behavior or lifestyle.
- Accurate and up-to-date reference and research materials.
- Volunteers who contribute to the process of advocating changes to laws which impact on the low income community.
- New areas of service to the low income community.