University of Calgary

Michelle Constance Christopher

  • Associate Professor
  • Student Legal Assisstance

Administrative Position

Executive Director, Student Legal Assistance (SLA).

Biography

Michelle Christopher QC holds a joint appointment as Associate Professor, teaching clinical programs at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Law, and as Executive Director of Student Legal Assistance, the pro bono legal clinic co-located within the Faculty of Law. She practices in the areas of family law, dispute resolution, and criminal law, with special interests in young offenders law, prison justice issues, and wrongful convictions. She is active in law reform and access to justice initiatives across Canada and has been an instructor in the Alberta bar admission course for nearly 20 years.

A graduate of Dalhousie Law School, Michelle also has an LLM from Osgoode Hall Law School, along with extensive training in dispute resolution from Harvard Law School’s Program on Negotiation. She regularly hosts training sessions in mediation and negotiation for lawyers and sits as a Dispute Resolution Officer in the Court of Queen’s Bench and a mediator in the Provincial Court of Alberta. She also serves the legal profession on a number of boards and committees, including the Canadian Bar Association Women Lawyers Forum, the Alberta Rules of Court Committee, and the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee for Alberta. In 2016, Michelle was appointed a QC and also received the Canadian Bar Association/Law Society of Alberta Distinguished Service Award.

Teaching

Law 686: Student Legal Assistance: Clinical Theory
Law 687: Criminal Justice Clinical
Law 688: Student Legal Assistance: Clinical Practice

Research/Scholarly Activities

Research Areas

  • Negotiations
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Clinical Legal Education

Selected Publications and Presentations

Presentations

  • "Culture and Diversity in the Courts: Development a Framework for Inclusion," Provincial Court Judges' Conference, October 18, 2017, Banff.
  • "Medical-Legal Partnership Practice: The Role of Pro Bono and Law Schools," American Bar Association Equal Justice Conference, May 4-6, 2017, Pittsburgh.
  • "Bridging the Gap: Academic Faculty Perceptions and Attitudes About Clinical Legal Education," joint conference of Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE) and the International Journal for Clinical Legal Education (IJCLE), July 12, 2016, Toronto.
  • "Friend or Foe: Bridging the Gap between the Academy and the Profession," University of Saskatchewan College of Law, October 23-25, 2015, Saskatoon.
  • Presenter, 2nd Annual Wrongful Conviction Day, October 2, 2015, Mount Royal University, Calgary.
  • "Court-annexed Dispute Resolution in Context: Exploring the Impact of Mediation Typology and Process Choice on Student Learning," Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education annual conference, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, October 23-24, 2014.
  • "Facilitating access to justice in the face of disaster: Lessons from the law clinic," Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education annual conference, October 16-19, 2013, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University.

Professional Service

Michelle has been a volunteer lawyer with Calgary Legal Guidance, Pro Bono Law Alberta, the Calgary Women's Centre's Civil and Family Law Legal Advice clinics, and SLA. She has served as a Board member of the Association of Collaborative Professionals (Calgary) and the Breast Cancer Supportive Care Foundation (Calgary) and she remains the Legal Advisor for the Foundation.

In November 2013, Michelle was elected to the board of directors for the Association for Canadian Clinical Legal Education (ACCLE), where she will serve as Treasurer. She was also named to the board of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.

On January 19, 2017, Michelle was appointed to the Judicial Advisory Committee for Alberta.

On March 8, 2018, Michelle was appointed to the Alberta Rules of Court Committee for a three-year term.

Photograph of Michelle Constance Christopher
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