Assist unveiled its AssistCommunity programming pillar in 2018 to provide additional support to Alberta lawyers, articling students, law students and their families.
Research shows that proactive strategies for dealing with challenges and emotional distress can be learned and modeled, and that being part of a community of support seems to complement resilience and stress-hardiness.
To provide a community of support and to reducing emotional distress through preventative education, Assist facilitates community groups for lawyers, articling students, law students and families dealing with specific issues. These groups will build connections and provide a forum for education and positive approaches to stress.
These groups can also play a key role in de-stigmatization of lawyer mental health issues and encourage help-seeking behaviours.
New Parents Practicing Law
Assist has New Parents Practicing Law groups in both Edmonton and Calgary. Each group designed its own approach.
The Edmonton group meets on weekends for activities involving parents and children.
The Calgary groups meets over lunch on weekdays to discuss issues and hear speakers.
Assist’s office helps coordinate speakers and resources, and promotes these events.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a parenting expert conducted a webinar called Working From Home While Parenting During A Pandemic.
Free Weekly Yoga and Meditation Classes
Assist offers a free weekly yoga class in Edmonton and Calgary. Classes are taught by lawyers (and a judge) who are certified yoga instructors.
During COVID-19, our yoga classes moved online and we were pleased to welcome lawyers, students and family members from across Alberta and beyond.
We are also providing a free weekly mindfulness break over the summer led by a lawyer-mindfulness practitioner.
Law Student Base Camps
Assist has hosted and will hold again base camps in Edmonton and Calgary for law students who are interviewing for summer student and articling student positions at Alberta firms.
Base camps are a place where students can come sit and chat with Assist staff or volunteers over a cup of coffee or other beverage before, between and after interviews to chat about the Alberta legal community. We also have a range of supplies and equipment for repairing grooming issues, from an iron and ironing board to stain removal products to sewing kits for missing buttons and hem tape. We want students to head into their interviews feeling confident and not being concerned about minor mishaps that happened on their way to a job interview.
We hold informal peer support connection coffee meetings for students who do not obtain positions which we publicize through the University of Alberta and University of Calgary law schools.
Lawyer 12 Step Communities
The Edmonton and Calgary Lawyer 12-Step groups are independent of Assist. However, Assist’s Executive Director can connect a lawyer or student in recovery with a member of one of these groups who will meet them before a group meeting. This is a form of peer support and is also part of a lawyer community.
If you are interested in organizing a group of lawyers or law students to create community around a common interest or experience, we can help. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about AssistCommunity activities, please sign up for our newsletter by emailing email@example.com or follow us on social media.