Welcome to the law school community! We are the Program Coordinators for PBSC UBC and are excited to meet you! You must be curious to know what life at law school is going to be like. You probably have already been inundated with a lot of information on various extra-curricular activities, and possibly feel overwhelmed with how you’ll fit everything into your 1L schedule. Well, we’re here to tell you that law school is about building community and doing meaningful work. We both have been involved with PBSC since day one of law school and have loved every minute of it! Just like us, you’ll have the opportunity to gain meaningful legal experience while giving back to the community, and along the way meeting some fantastic people!
Through PBSC, Rana volunteered with CHIMO Community Services in their “Outreach and Advocacy Program” that provides support to residents, immigrants, and refugees. She had the opportunity to independently conduct client intakes on issues such as employment and family law to name a few. It was a fantastic opportunity to gain practical legal experience and work under an organizational framework whose values align with hers!
Yusra volunteered with the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), an organization dedicated to fighting for the civil liberties, human rights, and democratic freedoms of all people across Canada. Her placement involved monitoring civil liberties issues in British Columbia and writing blogs on court decisions and news updates. She had the opportunity to attend the CCLA Rights Watch Conference in Toronto, where she received specialized training and had the opportunity to meet students from other law schools.
One of our placements last year was with the Woodlands Class Action Lawsuit. Nine students assisted class members to make applications under a class action settlement, which the Province agreed to in 2009. This case was covered in the news (link), and if you’re eager to learn more, one of our students Rav Sidhu has provided an in depth testimonial about her experience below!
Enjoy your summer!
Rana Hazarat (2L) and Yusra Khan (3L)
Testimonial from Rav Sidhu:
PBSC volunteer on the Woodlands Class Action Lawsuit
What year are you in and in what area of law are you interested in?
I am currently starting 3L in the fall and the area of law that is of most interest to me is corporate/business law.
What made you decide on PBSC over other extra-curricular options?
I initially decided to get involved with PBSC for numerous reasons. One of course being the ability to help those in need. We are fortunate individuals who with the capability, education and the platform of law to help those who may not be as fortunate. Secondly, I thought it would provide meaningful legal experience. This has turned out to be very true.
Where was your placement, what was your role, & what would a typical day look like?
My current placement is at Klein Lawyers, a law firm in Vancouver that predominantly handles motor vehicle files and class-action lawsuits. My day-to-day involves reviewing large files, including medical documents and nurses notes, to assess whether a viable claim can be made under the Woodlands Class Action lawsuit. This has helped hone my skills of being efficient in reviewing files while looking out for what is truly important and critical to the file. This placement also involves writing memorandums relating to the assessment, which enabled me to practice my legal writing skills beyond the classroom setting.
Has your experience with your placement taught you something new or substantial that you may not have been exposed to otherwise?
Since my placement was in a law office, I have also had the opportunity to see how a law office works and actually interact with lawyers and staff. This was a distinct feature of the PBSC placement that I do not believe other volunteer/extra-curricular opportunities would provide. Furthermore, as a student, the fact that it is flexible was key in my decision in continuing with PBSC. This placement has been very amenable and sensitive to the student workload balance. The fact that it is a year-long project still however, allows you to envision the end goal and keep yourself motivated to reach it while working on it throughout the year.
Would you recommend PBSC to other students, and if so why?
I would highly recommend PBSC to any student. While any extra-curricular that provides legal experience is great, what I’ve liked about PBSC is that if you do the work, you are going to make a difference in the legal circumstances of an organization or an individual. I would also say that even if the experience does not tie explicitly with your end goals for law (e.g. for me, being a corporate lawyer), you will gain experiences and skills that will help you no matter what trajectory you ultimately decide to go with in your legal career.