Monthly Archives: August 2015

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: The Law & Business Society


The Law & Business Society is a great forum for networking with the main players in Business Law in Vancouver. As an elected member of the Law & Business Society, you get the opportunity to work with one or two predominantly Business Law firms to organise an event for your classmates to attend. Not only is this a fantastic way to meet lawyers and get to know some Vancouver firms, it is also generally a pretty fun night!

Whether it’s a champagne tasting, speed networking, or a firm-sponsored cookie break, the events put on by the Law & Business Society help new law students break the ice and get comfortable talking to lawyers working in the field of Business Law in Vancouver. Don’t feel like you need to have a business background or even necessarily want to one day practise Business Law in order to run for this position or attend our events! Stay tuned for events put on by the Law & Business Society through Facebook. If you have any questions about the Law & Business Society, don’t hesitate to e-mail me at Oh, and welcome to Allard Law! It’s going to be a (mostly) wonderful year.


 Alia Bandali

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: Allard LSS Legal Buddy Program

Allard LSS Legal Buddy Program


As incoming 1Ls, the transition to law school may be a bit overwhelming and one way to help ease the process and make a new contact outside your 1L peers is to sign up for the Legal Buddy Program. By doing so, you will be matched with an upper year law student who can offer you great advice on life within and outside of Allard as a law student, as well as the all important information on the best CANs out there. You will certainly hear a lot about these areas during the great Orientation Week events, so your Legal Buddy will only add to this by offering more insight into their own academic, social and/or career experiences thus far.

The initial meet-up between 1L and upper year Legal Buddies will happen within the first few weeks of school, with details to be shared in the Weekly Bulletin, on social media and via e-mail from the organizer. So if you would like to sign up, please send a few lines about yourself to the Allard LSS Ombudsperson, Catriona Dooley, via e-mail:

A few helpful things to include for matching purposes would be: where you grew up, what school & program you last attended, any interesting past jobs/careers, what brought you to law school, and anything else you would like to share. You will have until Monday, September 7th, to send in your information for the matching process and should expect an introduction e-mail shortly afterwards.

Student Perspectives: Mischa Smolkin

“Stay in your own lane”


These five words allowed me to stay (relatively) sane throughout my first year of law school.

One of the amazing things about Allard, and the law profession generally, is the sheer amount of support available to you. As a 1L, for example, you’ll immediately be provided with a legal buddy, a peer tutor, a CBA mentor and section mentors who will be eager to give you tips and guide you through your first year. Add that to the advice you will receive from your amazing career advisors, your orientation week leaders, the Allard Ambassadors, your professors, upper year friends, lawyers that you will network with and fellow 1L classmates… and what you end up with is an overwhelming amount of advice and information of what other people are doing.


Pretty soon, these strangers will feel like family.

Now, don’t get me wrong: the wealth of resources available to students is phenomenal. But, it can also be dangerous. Indeed, as an impressionable 1L, it can be very easy to get caught up in the hype and do something just because “it’s what I’m supposed to do” or just because “everyone else is doing it.” And believe me, you will always know what “everyone else is doing” because law students often deal with stress by complaining, and talking and complaining and talking and, after that, just a little bit more talking.

It is for this reason that I wanted to pass along some of the best advice I got from a 3L student last October, upon me asking her for advice. “Don’t listen to anyone’s advice”, she told me. And while I don’t fully endorse this position because I believe in the merits of these resources, I do think it carries an important message: you got accepted into law school for a reason. The admissions office does not make mistakes; they wanted you and they believe in you. And given that they wanted you, you should have some confidence in your ability to succeed and that you belong here.


Professors are always there for help!

Another quote; this one from a provincial court judge: “Law school is like a puzzle. In 1L all the pieces are turned over and you have no idea what is going on. At this point, you’re just trying to figure out what your picture is going to look like”.

Everyone goes through 1L without a clue of what they are doing. Eventually, you figure out what works for you, develop a system and thrive. In other words, the picture starts to come together. But here’s the thing: there is no one way to complete the puzzle. Everyone has different methods, different interests, different goals, different philosophies and studying strategies. And the most common mistake that myself and some of my classmates made in 1L is to look at what someone else was doing and immediately feel as if we were deficient for not doing the same. For a long time, I was too afraid to deviate from what everyone else was doing to listen to myself. I eventually realized, this is a big mistake.


Lean on your friends, and be there to support them too!

I can’t stress this enough: yes, your classmates are amazing individuals. Talk to any one of them for long enough, you are guaranteed to come away with at least a few things you admire about them. But even more importantly: you are not your classmates, you are you and you belong here. Be happy for what they are accomplishing but don’t make the mistake of thinking it somehow makes you less impressive unless you try to replicate what they are doing.


“Well, I’ve put in over 60 hours of library time this week.” – Your classmates are motivated and hard working. This doesn’t mean that you aren’t; even if you spend less time in the library. Only you know how hard you need to work and only you know if you are working hard enough. Stay in your own lane.

“Wait…you’re not doing LSLAP?” – Your classmates are competent and making a tangible and positive impact on the world. Good for them. This doesn’t make you a bad person if you don’t participate. It also doesn’t mean you aren’t competent and don’t make an impact on the real world. There are many ways to get involved. Stay in your own lane.

“I’ve already got over 400 Linkedin connections” – Your classmates are charismatic and excellent networkers. That’s awesome. Maybe you don’t have a LinkedIn page or haven’t made any law firm connections yet, that’s fine. I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure law firms don’t make hiring decisions based on your success on LinkedIn. Maybe you are naturally introverted, that’s also alright; lots of successful lawyers are too. Maybe you don’t really want to make these sorts of connections; that’s ok too. Diversity is the spice of life people! Just because your friends want to work in a big firm, doesn’t mean you should feel stupid for not wanting that lifestyle. Stay in your own lane.

“Have you finished CANing?” – Your classmates are organized and well prepared. I, personally, never finished a CAN (the package of notes you’ll take into your exams) until the morning of my exams. Other classmates had completed their CANs before exam period even began. Guess what? We all performed well. There are many ways to learn and many ways to prepare. Stay in your own lane.

By now, you probably understand my unbelievably repetitive point: everyone feels like an imposter in 1L, but you are not an imposter. You got here because you are intelligent and a good student. Why, after all this time, would you let yourself be influenced by what others are doing? Again: this doesn’t mean you should ignore the resources presented to you. Quite the opposite: I implore you to use the vast resources at your disposal, collect as much information as you can but do not forget the final and most crucial step: use your intelligence to decide what advice is right for you and don’t hesitate to disregard the advice you don’t want to follow. 

Take everything with a grain of salt (even this post), remind yourself you belong here and, of course, stay in your own lane. And if you need positive reinforcement, come talk to me.


Law School may seem daunting, but trust me: you are in for 1L of a ride!


Mischa Smolkin

Grad Book Sale!

If you’re already thinking about textbooks and thinking to yourself, “you know, I’m not really in the mood to max out my PLOC (professional line of credit) and spend a hundred million dollars on those…”, we’ve got you covered!

The Grapi8i1duation Committee organizes a used textbook sale every year and this year, we will be ready to go with the 1L books for Orientation Week. We will have all your 1L books available and we have a wide array of barely used to heavily highlighted (good if you want to selectively read!) textbooks with a similarly wide range of prices. Keep a lookout for announcements or notices about when and where the sale will be happening – it will likely begin on Day 2 of O-Week. So don’t you fret, you can save yourself a few hundred dollars and still have your first week readings done (even though, let’s be honest, the first week readings are so unnecessary, but we all know you’ll read them anyway, because we did).

Please support this year’s graduating class and you will forever have our gratitude. We’re looking forward to meeting you!


-Rosalyn and Melissa

PS: for all you upper years that are reading this, your books will be ready during the first week of classes. If you haven’t dropped off your books yet, contact Melissa or me to arrange that.

Student Perspectives: Andrew Smukowich

Personalizing your law school experience


Law school provides such a wide range of extra-curricular activities and areas of study that it is easy to recognize that everyone develops their own particular experience at Allard Hall. This really allows you to pick and choose what is important to you. This type of flexibility is something that can help you focus on your interests and gain insight into the direction you may wish to take after the program. There is a multitude of things to do outside of the classroom like providing legal access to people in need, joining one of the many clubs, or just playing some organized sports for fun!

However, this personalization does not only come from extra-curricular 11221864_10153228984620791_6300526693630600575_oactivities but also the courses you will take or a specialization you will choose. Although this is something that is not chosen in the first year it is worth considering from an early stage. All of these choices will determine your unique experience at Allard Hall. The takeaway is that there is no correct way to go through law school, there is only the way that is right for you.

Getting Involved at Allard School of Law: The Law Revue

The following was originally posted in the 2014 Orientation Week Blog….It was just too good not to share.

Law Revue 2014


We open in a disheveled living room, strewn about with scripts, papers, textbooks, and a copy of the McGill Guide flung into one corner. OUR HERO sits on the couch, dressed in sweatpants which have clearly not been washed in some time and a sweat-stained Orientation t-shirt. In front of OUR HERO: a laptop.


OUR HERO: I have never worked so hard in my life for so little. Undergrad was so easy, and now it’s all I can do to keep up with readings. Also, my hangovers just get worse as I get older. Why did I ever choose to do this? (Life is a bleak void from which there is no escape but death, etcetera, etcetera)


Messenger application chimes. 


OH: A message from my upper-year legal buddy! [Reading aloud] “Saw your status update about not bathing in a week and thought you could use a laugh. Check out this video from last year’s Law Revue.” That’s so thoughtful!


We fade out as a golden light emanates from the laptop screen, filling the room. Like, religious-experience golden light. Maybe some choirs of angels are heard. Real humble stuff here.


New scene: OUR HERO in the halls of Allard, running into UPPER YEAR LEGAL BUDDY. Huge contrast from the last scene: OH is dressed, washed, groomed, generally looking like a human being.


OH: Hey, thanks for sending me that video last night! It really cheered me up. Turns out that I really enjoy laughing at the same three in-jokes about the legal profession and how hard law school is!


UYLB: No problem! Man, we really do work and play hard, right?!


OH: Ha! ha! ha! You are so right!


UYLB: Say, the clubs fair is on right now. Let’s go over and check out the Law Revue booth! [Turning directly to fourth wall.] Like so many of my colleagues, my greatest regret from last year is that I kept talking about writing something for Law Revue, and then I never did. This year for sure I want to be involved!


OH: Gee, [name of UYLB—something unisex? Taylor?], I don’t know. Even though I’ve chosen a profession in which public speaking is crucial, I don’t think of myself as a good performer.


UYLB: Don’t worry about that! You should have seen some of the chumps they put on stage last year. Besides, the Law Revue always needs people behind the scenes too! Last year they kept asking for writers, singers, people with technical experience—even people who were willing to shoot videos or help with sound recording.


OH: I can’t do any of that stuff, but I think I’m funny. People love my Nikos Harris impersonation.


A Law Revue director appears in a puff of smoke.


LAW REVUE DIRECTOR: I’m sorry, did someone say they do a great Nikos Harris impersonation? Here, sign this piece of paper without reading it.


OH: Okay!


LRD: Great! We’ll see you in March to be in three skits we’ve written about Nikos. It’s a minimal time commitment; we only need you for weekend rehearsals and two evening performances on the following Monday and Tuesday.


OH: That’s it? And then I get to put it on my resume?


LRD: That’s it! Also we will feed you and give you lots of beer, and all your friends will tell you how funny you are.








All actors turn to fourth wall, smile broadly, give big thumbs up.




No, but seriously, here’s our pitch:


Before you graduate, lose your sense of humour, and start billing clients in six-


minute intervals for glorified research work, join us at the Law Revue to make good, clean, light-hearted fun of the legal profession! (Please.)


The UBC LAW REVUE is Allard Hall’s yearly variety show, as written and performed entirely by law students. We meet several times throughout the year to write skits and songs, then perform the show over two nights in early March. Previous performers have described the process as “easier and more fun than I thought it would be,” “a completely minimal commitment,” and “I learned a lot?”


We are always looking for people to write, perform, shoot videos, edit footage, record songs and more. We pay in beer and Valuable Extracurricular Experience.


Law Revue 2014

Don’t want to participate? Join us for one of two performances in the early spring! Beer, wine and cider are sold during the show. All proceeds go to a charity chosen by the cast at the end of the year.


Want to know more? Find us on clubs days (just follow the trail of glitter and recycled jokes) or email us at

Student Perspectives: Rosalyn Chan

0Ls – Welcome to Allard Hall!


I am very excited for you (maybe even slightly jealous) as you begin this journey and are looking forward to the next three years. Here I am, an incoming 3L, about to embark on an exchange for the first semester (something you should all do!), thinking about the limited time I have left as a student at UBC. Time truly does fly. Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to never have to study for exams again and make another CAN, but law school isn’t all studying and classes. There actually are a lot of fun and games involved. I would say that 49%* of your law school success will depend on your ability to keep a healthy work/play balance. It is entirely possible to have a social life every week and still get great grades. It doesn’t have to be law school all the time. In fact, it shouldn’t be. What will work for you will be different than what worked for me, but I’ll give you my tips anyway:

Get involved:


Law Games 2015: We didn’t win any sports but we certainly looked good!

You have already read some posts on ways to get involved through different clubs and Law Games (come to this – ESPECIALLY if you are athletically inclined), but there are many other avenues to making Allard Hall your home. Bonus: these require zero commitment and lots of free food and libations. Last year, I was the LSS, as it was then, Vice President Student Affairs and had the privilege of planning all the Friday Socials (firm sponsored mingling events on, who-woulda-thunk-it, Fridays) and other LSS run events like the infamous Boat Cruise (tickets ALWAYS sell out so get them early!), Movember, Semi-Formal, and the Trike Race (I’m going for a three-peat this year). I cannot encourage you enough to attend these events. You will feel at times throughout the year that you don’t have enough time – like you just need to get back home or to the library to hit the books again. That feeling is a complete lie. Don’t give in. Fight the urge. Give yourself a very well deserved break, even if only for an hour. The books will always be there when you’re done having some laughs and making some memories.

Take care of yourself:

You are going to hear this over and over again, but make sure to stay healthy!

  • Get a good sleep every night: If you know me, you know that I am a night owl. Coming to school every single day for 9am classes, ready and alert, was definitely a challenge for me (no, 9am isn’t that early, but if you factor in a commute, now I’m not whining). So, I just started going to bed earlier. There was hardly a night, unless there was an event, that I didn’t go to bed between 10-11pm. It made all the difference.
  • Move: Whether you join the Beavers/Honey Badgers, play basketball, lift weights, go for runs, just move. And schedule this time in so you make sure you do it. No one wants to repeat the freshman 15, except this time it isn’t from eating res café food and drinking too much – it’ll be because you neglected to make time for your body. Get moving at least a couple times a week – it’ll clear your head and get you ready to read more of Lord Denning’s streams of consciousness.

Get away from the books (and maybe even Allardites):

  • Take one night/entire day off school stuff, every single week. During 1L, I took every single Friday night and most Saturday nights (lots of times, all day Saturday) off from the books. Knowing that I was going to have a break coming really helped me push through those days during the week when I felt like I was getting overwhelmed. MAKE SURE YOU DO THIS GUILT FREE! Don’t spend your night/day off feeling like you should be doing stuff. Think of it like giving your brain a sleep so that you can work harder when you actually have to get back to it on Sunday.
  • Spend time with non-law friends/family! Even if you’re not from Vancouver, don’t forget to call/FaceTime people from home. You have no idea how refreshing it is to have non-law related conversations every now and then.

…But not for too long:


We’re so eager to meet you we already made you a drink!

Beyond just getting involved, hang out socially with your classmates. These are the people that understand exactly what you’re going through and will understand what you mean when you ask about whether there was consideration or what the mens rea is. Like Jamie said in a prior post, these people are going to be your rock for getting through the slog of cases and exams coming your way. They will also be your future colleagues and professional network. Get to know them. Also, utilize your upper years! We’re all more than happy to give you advice on certain professors’ styles or hand down our CANs – we’re also more than happy to grab a coffee or a beer (or a gin and tonic). ALSO, hang out with the professors. Some of them come out to the Friday Socials and various other events. Some will invite your class over for dinner or go for drinks with a group of you. We have some great faculty – get to know them.

Take it one step at a time:


Don’t forget to have fun!

The hardest thing about work/play balance is constantly thinking about your entire to-do list from now until the end of next April (or even until you land a job next, next October). Take it all once step at a time! You will worry yourself sick for things you cannot, and do not need to, control at this very moment. For example, right now, all you need to think about is clearing your schedule for Orientation Week and having fun! If you’re a calendar kind of person (you should become one if you’re not already), fill out all the things you need to do with deadlines, and just think about your day one at a time. Don’t think about April exams when you haven’t even gotten your first LRW assignment. Don’t think about OCIs (blah) when you’re trying to study for your FAIL-SAFE December exams. Take it one day, one week, at a time. You will thank yourself for not freaking yourself out.


Look at all the fun we’re having!

The last piece of advice I want to leave with you is to do what works for you (except actually go get involved and go to events). These are just some ideas of things that I have done for the past two years to be successful at the whole work/play balance phenomenon. No one needs to tell you twice to work hard, but HAVE FUN! Don’t leave law school thinking it was the worst three years of your life because it certainly should not be that.

I am looking forward to meeting you during Orientation week! Make the most of your summer and don’t try to pre-read for classes or whatever silly thought you might have about that…


*Disclaimer: there is no scientific evidence to back this claim up.