The Alberta Law Foundation and the community legal clinics in Alberta have implemented a project to evaluate the summary legal advice services provided by the clinics. Summary legal advice involves volunteer lawyers providing up to 60 minutes of legal advice to low income individuals who are generally handling their legal problems on their own. A logic model was developed to articulate the inputs, activities, outputs, and intended outcomes of the services, and survey instruments were designed to assess the outcomes. The clinics participating in the study are: Calgary Legal Guidance; Edmonton Community Legal Centre; Central Alberta Community Legal Clinic in Red Deer; and Lethbridge Legal Guidance. The overall goal of the project is to build evaluation capacity within the clinics to enable them to carry out their own evaluations, thus providing them with the data needed to make evidence-based decisions to improve their legal advice services. The goal of the evaluation is to examine the extent to which the intended outcomes identified in the logic model are being achieved, and to assess what type of adjustments may be necessary to better achieve the intended outcomes. The Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family was asked to assist the project by reviewing and revising the proposed data collection instruments, establishing data collection procedures and documenting them in a user-friendly manual for clinic staff, and periodically analyzing the aggregate data from the four participating clinics.
Bertrand, L.D. & Paetsch, J.J. (2018). Summary Legal Advice Services in Alberta: Survey Results from the First Two Years of Data Collection. Calgary, AB: Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.