Experiential Learning

Explore the many clinical courses that allow you to put your knowledge to work in real-world situations, from business and environmental law, to tax law and pro bono work.

Student Legal Assistance (SLA)

Student Legal Assistance: Clinical Theory

The SLA Clinical Theory course will help you to explore a selection of social justice topics related to the work and clients of SLA. You will examine and critically reflect on systemic barriers which prevent or impede access to justice. Through your research you will develop materials for SLA caseworker use. The practical aspect to this clinical will include your assistance in SLA's outreach and access to justice efforts through the delivery of public legal information and education seminars focused on the needs of marginalized clients.

Student Legal Assistance: Clinical Practice

In the SLA Clinical Practice course you will engage in advanced experiential learning about the practice of law through working your assigned case load in SLA. You will participate in all aspects and areas of SLA work including summary criminal offences, family law matters, residential tenancy issues, small claims disputes and traffic offences. Through this work, you will develop a range of problem-solving and client management skills including interviewing, counselling, negotiation and dispute settlement. Your experience through this caseload will also develop your written and oral advocacy skills through a variety of court and trial processes and through SLA's court-annexed advocacy projects. Some of these projects include learning about the trial confirmation process, domestic violence court, and bail forfeiture applications.

Check out this video to find out more about volunteering with Student Legal Assistance.


Business Venture Clinic

The BLG Business Venture Clinic offers you the opportunity to get hands-on work in entrepreneurship and business law. You will be matched with a start-up company to work with over the course of the entire year. This is an opportunity for you to gain valuable experience doing a variety of legal work such as drafting agreements and contracts. During this program you will be matched with a mentor lawyer who practices in the area and can provide their experience and advice to you on all of your questions. The mentor lawyer also reviews all of your work and provides valuable feedback for you before you start practicing on your own.

You will also take classes to support your hands-on learning. In these classes, you will learn about issues that commonly arise in start-up companies, such as employment issues, trade secrets, dividing up founders' equity, intellectual property licensing, and board of director problems. In most cases, part of the class will be spent in a lecture and part will be spent on practical case study assignments. As the year progresses, increasing amounts of class time are spent in discussions about problems students are encountering in their work for clients and class brainstorming about different approaches. One of the best things about this class is the camaraderie that develops as the students and professor work on problems together.


Intellectual Property Clinic

The Intellectual Property Clinic gives you the opportunity to draft patent applications and licensing agreements for review by the lawyers who run the technology practice of Innovate Calgary. Some of the licensing work may be done for private company clients of the Business Venture Clinic. In these cases, students enrolled in the Intellectual Property Clinic will work together with colleagues in the Business Venture Clinic (just as they would in a law firm).

You will take classes that provide legal information to support the hands-on learning that you will do in the clinic. This class is taken with students in the Business Venture Clinic, because many legal issues will be similar between the clinics.

The course work will consist of covering the various legal issues that provide the context for intellectual property work with start-ups, such as employment law, trade secret regimes, fiduciary duties, and founder-proofing companies. 


Public Interest Law Clinic

Access to justice is a significant societal concern, and that concern is more pronounced in cases involving important public interest issues. Barriers to accessing the legal system for public interest issues arise in many forms, including:

  • Obtaining standing to initiate or participate in court and regulatory proceedings;
  • Retaining knowledgeable legal counsel willing and able to act on public interest files;
  • Navigating complex evidentiary and doctrinal concepts; and,
  • Significant legal fees or legal penalties.

In this course, you will work in the clinic on precedent-setting cases affecting Alberta's vulnerable communities and the environment, allowing them to learn public interest advocacy and litigation skills. The goal of this clinic is to train and inspire a new generation of lawyers to advocate in the public interest in Alberta and beyond.


Tax Court Assistance Program

If you are interested in business and tax law, then the Tax Court Assistance program gives you the opportunity to gain valuable and relevant experience. Through the collaboration of the Faculty of Law, Student Legal Assistance (SLA) and lawyers who work in this field, you will have the opportunity to gain experience and insight into an area typically viewed as complex and reserved for specialist practitioners. In this program, you will assist clients with a variety of tax issues, including entitlement to Canada Child Tax benefits, medical expense credit claims, and appeals on the obligation to pay Employment Insurance, Canada Pension Plan benefits, Old Age Security and GST credits.

With mentoring from tax specialist lawyers in private practice, students will build a case and represent individuals and families at the Tax Court of Canada (Informal Procedure). There is also a dispute resolution procedure within Canada Revenue Agency with which students can assist clients.

NOTE: You are not able to earn credit for participation in this program.


Criminal Justice Clinic

In this clinical you will explore the causes of wrongful convictions and critically examine criminal convictions review processes in Canada and Internationally. You will learn about the causes of wrongful convictions, including eyewitness identification errors, jailhouse informant testimony, false confessions, tunnel vision, systemic discrimination, forensic science errors, the impact of racism, gender bias and socioeconomic factors, and professional or prosecutorial misconduct.

The clinical portion of this course is where you work together with students, faculty, and clients to establish an intake and review process for claims of wrongful conviction. You may get the opportunity to be involved in administrative tribunal hearings, wrongful convictions, access to justice initiatives and/or public interest advocacy initiatives.


Family Law Clinic

Taking the Family Law Clinic will help you gain insight into 'real life' family law practice. This program gives you experience drafting court documents and developing skills through role-played interviews and advocacy as well as through class inquiry and discussion. Throughout the term, the class will work from a hypothetical fact scenario from the initial client interview through to the preparation of settlement and divorce documentation.


Human Rights Clinic

The Human Rights Clinic presents an ideal opportunity to understand and learn about the responsibilities of the Alberta Human Rights Commission under the Alberta Human Rights Act (the Act), including complaint intake, conciliation, investigation, appeals to the Chief Commissioner, tribunal dispute resolution and hearings, and the work of education and engagement.