Tag Archives: Externship

Life of a Judicial Intern

Another law student has previously blogged about being a judicial intern with the UBC Law Externship Program (here), but I thought I would share my experiences as a student with the program this year. I should begin by saying that I second all the sentiments shared in the previous post.

The Externship Program provides law students with a rare opportunity to work with judges and to be immersed in the provincial court system. Students conduct research for judges and observe trials and. Even better, we receive course credit for the term (16 credits total).

I was placed at the provincial courthouse on Main Street, and rotated briefly through North Vancouver. This means that I had a lot of exposure to criminal and family law, as well as lawyers in action. Poverty, mental disability, and drug addiction, were all themes I observed as a regular courtroom watcher. As a result of the Externship, I am more aware of the reality of access to justice issues.

QCCA memorable experience of the Externship would be travelling on the circuit court to Haida Gwaii for a week to observe court operations in Queen Charlotte City and Masset. This visit was generously funded by the Law Foundation of British Columbia (yes, this means all expenses are covered!). On circuit, I had the opportunity to learn about justice in underserved communities. I became a temporary member of the circuit team, getting to know the judge, lawyers, clerks, and sheriffs, who work in smaller communities in B.C. This was really a once in a lifetime experience, with fantastic photo ops to boot.

Masset2_Externship If you are curious about the Externship, the program director is Professor Judith Mosoff who can be reached at mosoff@law.ubc.ca. Last year, the application deadline for second-year students was March 1, 2014 (the information for this year has not yet been released). Of course, I would be happy to answer questions as well 🙂

Thanks for reading!




Outside the Classroom

Law school classes offer an academic view of the law, and provide valuable learning experiences. However, there is so much more to the practice of law and the administration of justice that cannot be learned in the classroom. This past week, I had the pleasure of participating in the orientation for the Judicial Externship Program. In these past two weeks, I feel like I’ve learned more that will be of practical application in my career than I have in the rest of my law school experience.

Throughout the past two weeks, I’ve sat in on many provincial court proceedings. Since I didn’t participate in any clinical programs throughout law school, I am unfamiliar with the processes of court. Having the opportunity to observe and understand the day-to-day activities of a court registry has been enlightening.

I’ve also had the opportunity to learn about and watch Downtown Community Court and Drug Treatment Court in action. I didn’t know that either of these programs existed before learning about them through externship, and found them to both be refreshing approaches to the traditional court format.

Taking a break from the classroom and participating in the externship program is sure to be an education in how the judiciary works and in how justice is administered. I would encourage law students to apply for the unique programs available to them in third year, or to at least take the opportunity to sit in on court proceedings and better understand what law looks like outside of the classroom.