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Windmill Microlending Charles Lawyer


When Charles first arrived from Nigeria in 2012, he brought over 20 years of experience as a lawyer with him, but he lacked the license required to practice law in Canada.

Needing to support his family, Charles found himself working as a security guard, a position which greatly underutilized his extensive experience as a lawyer. However, Charles was driven to succeed and was determined to re-enter his profession.

Charles applied to the Law Society of Alberta to have his credentials assessed, where it was determined that he write four separate exams. Upon passing these, he would then need to complete approximately one year of articling, while simultaneously taking a series of career preparation courses (CPLED).

Charles took night shifts at his security job so he could allocate time during the day to study. Aside from exhaustion, one of the biggest challenges he experienced was becoming a student again, having been out of school for 20 years. It became apparent to Charles that in order to be successful he would need to dedicate more time to studying. However, if he reduced his hours at work, he would have a difficult time supporting his family and paying for his exams.

Charles researched immigrant employment programs in Calgary when he discovered CRIEC (Calgary Regional Immigrant Employment Council). The executive director of CRIEC, Bruce Randall, referred Charles to Windmill Microlending. After discussing his situation with Windmill intake staff, Charles applied for and received a loan to cover the associated exam fees.

In January 2015, Charles passed his final exam and started articling in September of that year at the Alberta Civil Liberties Research Centre. During this time, Charles also applied for and received an additional loan to help cover the costs of his mandatory CPLED courses. In August 2016, Charles achieved his dream and was called to the Alberta Bar. He started his first job as a lawyer in Canada at Dawe Law Office, before moving to his present position at Shory Law.

“Windmill made it possible for me financially to write my exams, while also supporting my family,” Charles says. “As a result of Windmill’s support I was also able to commit the needed time to properly study for and pass my exams. Without Windmill I would have had to postpone writing my exams, or maybe go back to university and re-do my law degree from scratch. Windmill really facilitated the whole enterprise.”

Every year, Windmill helps hundreds of immigrants by providing loans to help them pay for the licensing or training they need to achieve career success in Canada. Now more than ever Canada’s newcomers need our help.

Please consider a donation to Windmill today.