Hello Class of 2018!
Congratulations to all incoming 1Ls on being accepted to Allard Hall! My name is Emma Wilson, and I’m the PR Director for the Law Students’ Legal Advice Program (LSLAP). I hope you will consider volunteering at LSLAP in September. I found that my time spent at LSLAP turned out to be the defining experience of my first year of law. Many of my fellow LSLAPers are sure to say the same.
LSLAP is a great place to volunteer for several different reasons. First of all, it gives you the chance to experience real file work from day one. You’ll be working in a wide variety of practice areas, both criminal and civil. Real files mean real clients, and you’ll learn how to work one-on-one with clients and how to manage your files, both invaluable skills for all lawyers to have. You also get to work directly with the program’s two full-time supervising lawyers and learn from their wealth of experience. If your file goes to trial – an exciting prospect in itself — you will also have the benefit of being mentored by one of LSLAP’s volunteer supervising lawyers right up to and during the date of the trial.
The other great thing about LSLAP is that you are the one with the ultimate control over your workload. You can choose to attend extra clinics or take on transfer files, or simply to work on the files that you receive during your assigned clinic. There is no set number of hours that a student is expected to commit to LSLAP. Rather, this depends on what you can personally handle and what you really want to work on.
As well, LSLAP is a great social environment to be in, especially during your first year. It’s one of the best ways to make connections and get to know your fellow law students, from 1Ls to 3Ls. I know that I appreciated this a lot, especially since the first year of law school can be a very daunting experience.
Volunteering at LSLAP can also lead to a summer job, as we hire back 10-15 students each May to work full-time for us over the summer. This means doing paid legal work full-time for four months, which is an opportunity few first year students have.
The final reason why you should volunteer for LSLAP is that the contributions you will make as an LSLAP student are an invaluable asset to the community. Affordable legal representation is very difficult to come by in BC. As an LSLAP student, you’ll be helping marginalized people by providing legal advice and representation to those who cannot otherwise access or afford it. You’ll also be providing a service to the court by reducing the number of self-representing clients appearing at courts and tribunals.
At LSLAP, you will get to do real legal work, learn from experienced lawyers, get to know your fellow students, and perform invaluable community service. And, you might even get a job out of it. For all these reasons and more, I hope you decide to give LSLAP a try in September!
Emma Wilson, Director of Communications
Read more about LSLAP on their website: http://www.lslap.bc.ca/