We’re hiring! Contract Lawyer/Prisoner Legal Education Project

Prisoners’ Legal Services (PLS) is looking for a passionate, problem solving, empathetic and dedicated lawyer for a 10-month contract position. We are a small non-profit society providing legal services to federal and provincial prisoners in the province of British Columbia.

The position has two components: responsibility for the Prisoner Legal Education Project and parental leave coverage for our staff lawyer/legal advocate.

Prisoner Legal Education Project: PLS produces legal education materials for prisoners on a range of topics to help clients pursue issues on their own. The contract lawyer would be responsible for reviewing our current materials for legal accuracy and for developing new materials on issues such as transgender prisoner rights, mother-child programs in prison, and making complaints to medical professional colleges.

Staff Lawyer/Legal Advocate: The staff lawyer/legal advocacy component involves providing advocacy to prisoners regarding prison legal issues, including and especially the prison disciplinary process. It also involves supervising PLS’ four other legal advocates.

Advocacy work is primarily done by telephone, fax and email. Advocacy on behalf of prisoners may involve summary advice, informal advocacy, providing written submissions and personal representation at tribunals.

Legal advocates have conduct of client files and are responsible for ensuring day-to-day tasks are scheduled and performed within relevant timeframes. This position also involves reviewing and determining the legal merit of cases and the level of service to be provided. At times it will also require the direction and supervision of the other legal advocates’ work.

This position would have a great deal of contact with prisoners, prison administrators and parole authorities.

This position requires frequent travel to prisons in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley. Access to a vehicle is essential. A CPIC clearance is required to visit prisons.

Basic Qualifications:

  • Must be called to the bar in BC;
  • Strong legal research and writing skills, including the ability to write effectively for lay audiences; and
  • Strong verbal and interviewing skills.

Skills and Abilities

  • Ability to be a strong advocate for disadvantaged clients, including those with low income, those with mental disabilities, or those whose first language is not English;
  • Ability to work well with others in a team setting;
  • Ability to negotiate and find creative solutions to prisoners’ legal problems;
  • Ability to exercise excellent judgment in matters of ethics and confidentiality;
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills, in particular in dealing with prisoners, lawyers, and prison and parole officials;
  • Superb organization skills with strong follow-through and the ability to meet deadlines.
  • Familiarity with general software applications (e.g. MS Word, Outlook);
  • Willingness to assist those convicted of various crimes in a non-judgmental way; and
  • Second language or demonstrated awareness of the cultural diversity of prisoners an asset.


Closing date: interviews will be scheduled after July 6, 2018

Start date: ASAP

Interested applicants should submit a covering letter together with a résumé outlining how their qualifications meet the position requirements to:

Jennifer Metcalfe, Executive Director

Prisoners’ Legal Services/ West Coast Prison Justice Society

Tel: (604) 636-0470

Fax: (604) 636-0480

Email: jmetcalfe@pls-bc.ca

***Also check out the other position we’re hiring for here ***