Susan Billington, QC

Susan Billington

Associate Professor

Faculty of Law

Executive Director

Student Legal Assistance

Phone number

Office: 403.220.8088

Location

Office: MFH3390

Media Contact:

Ali Abel
Manager, Marketing & Communications
amabel@ucalgary.ca
O: 403.210.8720
C: 403.630.1232

Background

Educational Background

LLB University of Calgary, 1985

BA History, University of Calgary, 1982

Biography

Susan V. R. Billington is an Associate Professor and Executive Director of Student Legal Assistance. Susan teaches and supervises students in the SLA clinical courses in the core JD program and also teaches in the first year Foundations course on ethics and professionalism. Through her teaching, Susan helps further the goals of the Calgary Curriculum and the commitment to experiential learning opportunities for students. As a result of the COVID Health crisis, Susan has led the SLA team of students, volunteer student caseworkers and staff in the transition of SLA to digital and remote delivery of legal services.

Susan is no stranger to the Faculty as she graduated from the Faculty of Law at University of Calgary in 1985 and was admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1986. Since graduation Susan has kept strong ties with the Faculty and the University, where she served both on the Alumni Association and the Senate of UCalgary. Additionally Susan has continued her contributions to the Faculty through the Mooting and Debating Committee, where she tutors students in the Annual Blackstone Debate competition having been the first female winner of the Blackstone Debates in 1983. 

After her admission to the Alberta Bar in 1986, Susan practiced law both in litigation and as a solicitor before joining the Law Society of Alberta as Counsel in 1994. Susan practiced at the Law Society for 20 years and held the positions of Policy and Program Counsel, Complaints Resolution Officer and Complaints Manager. She supported the Law Society’s Board of Directors (Benchers) in the development of policy and program initiatives in a wide variety of areas of law and practice including: Western Law Societies Conveyancing Project (Protocol); the Continuing Professional Development program; the Fee Mediation program; many equality initiatives including the Equity Ombudsperson, the Justicia Project, workplace policy development and the Aboriginal Summer Student program; and many access to justice initiatives including the Alternate Delivery of Legal Services Project and the Retention and Re-engagement Task Force. Susan is most proud of her role in fostering the development of the pro bono community legal clinics throughout the province including in Edmonton (ECLC), Red Deer (CACLC), Lethbridge (LLG) and Grande Prairie. Additionally, in 2007 Susan was seconded from the Law Society for two years to be the founding Executive Director of Pro Bono Law Alberta (PBLA) an access to justice initiative celebrating the 100th anniversary legacy project of the Law Society of Alberta. PBLA’s mandate is to promote access to justice by creating and promoting opportunities for lawyers to provide pro bono legal services to persons of limited means. 

In 2014, Susan joined Billington Barristers where she practiced civil litigation (estate, professional negligence) and corporate commercial litigation. Susan also led the management team at Billington Barristers with a focus on fostering excellence in the delivery of legal services.

Susan is an experienced mediator and a professional facilitator. She has facilitated many groups both large and small to come to consensus on strategies to move forward to resolution including for: the Federation of Law Societies of Canada; the Department of Foreign Affairs/Department of Justice Canada; the Law Societies Equity Network, the City of Calgary, the Public Interest Law Clinic, the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta. 

Susan served as a Municipal Councillor for the Kananaskis Improvement District from 2012 to 2017, appointed as a public representative by the Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. She also served as an Appeal Panel member for the Real Estate Council of Alberta. Susan has been a mentor to young lawyers and before joining the Faculty she served as a mentor-in-residence at the Faculty of Law. Susan currently sits as a Public Member of the Board of Governors of the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology appointed by the Minister of Advanced Education.

Susan was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2008, was awarded a Woman in Law Leadership Award in 2012 by the Association of Women Lawyers, and in February 2021 was recognized with a Distinguished Service Award for Service to the Legal Profession by the Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch).

Research

Areas of Research

Clinical Theory, Clinical Practice, Ethics and Professionalism

Awards

  • Woman in Law Leadership Award, Association of Women Lawyers. 2012
  • Distinguished Service Award for Service to the Legal Profession, Law Society of Alberta and the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta Branch). 2021