Rise Women’s Legal Centre provides an experiential learning opportunity for upper year students from the University of British Columbia’s Peter A. Allard School of Law, in a non-profit, social justice environment, and with a focus on the circumstances of women and their experiences within the justice system. The full-time externship consists of two complementary courses: Law 379D Women’s Legal Clinic and Law 380C Externship Reflections, which are worth a total of 15 academic credits. Both courses take place on-site at Rise. Rise offers the externship program three times a year during each academic term (fall, winter, summer) and accepts a maximum of six students per term.
For the Women’s Legal Clinic course, Rise’s students obtain temporary articles with the Law Society of British Columbia so that they may provide legal advice and unbundled family law services including, in some cases, representing clients in court. Through their work on client files, students gain practical knowledge and skills in advocacy, research and writing.
The co-requisite Externship Reflections course enhances and supports students’ understanding of community legal practice by allowing them to situate their clinical work within a broader social justice context. The Reflections course encourages students to read, discuss and reflect on themes specific to women and the law, legal advocacy, and other themes arising from their clinical experience.
Students participate in an intensive three-week orientation through which they are introduced to client-management processes in the clinic, and to the community of non-legal supports and services for women. They are taught court rules and procedure, advocacy skills, client interviewing, and writing affidavits.
The clinical component of the Rise externship is worth 11 academic credits and is graded on a pass/fail basis. Student clinicians carry their own caseload and work on all aspects of their legal files. The level of service provided to clients can range from providing summary advice, to supplying unbundled legal services such as document drafting or legal coaching, and in some cases, student clinicians will represent clients at the Provincial Court of BC. Students may occasionally also have the opportunity to work on cases that are being argued in the Supreme Court of BC.
The seminar component of the Rise externship is worth 4 academic credits, and fulfills UBC’s seminar requirement. Students attend a weekly seminar class addressing various aspects of community based legal practice during which they are encouraged to critically reflect on the role of lawyers and the justice system, and the barriers that many women face while trying to access justice in BC. Student participation often reflects their experiences with the clients they serve at the clinic, resulting in thoughtful discussions on varied topics, such as the legal system being a foreign culture to clients, the pursuit of effective, empowering advocacy on behalf of women with diverse experiences, and the tools available to responsibly work in community.
Critical reflection is essential to sustaining and developing a community legal practice. Rise students reflect on their experiences with clients, with colleagues, the legal system and beyond through weekly reflective journaling and “rounds” where students come together with staff lawyers to share learning goals, challenges and insights. Participating in critical reflection and rounds encourages students to help one another and themselves in learning how to problem solve, situate their legal practice within a broader social context, and support their self-care.
Effective advocacy necessitates an ability to communicate in writing in a clear, accessible and appropriate manner suited to various readers. To prepare them for legal practice, Rise students must prepare a significant analytical research paper addressing a systemic or other legal issue that impacts women’s experiences in the legal system. Students may also choose between preparing blog posts or an extended critical reflection paper.
Eligibility and How to Apply:
Students may apply for the externship program through the Peter A. Allard School of Law.
All students applying to the externship program at Rise must meet the following criteria:
- be currently enrolled in second or third year of law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law
- have completed Evidence by the beginning of the externship (Family Law is also recommended)
- provide an academic transcript
Please note: Rise welcomes applications from students of all genders, including women, men, non-binary, and gender diverse individuals.
Apply through the link below to Peter A. Allard School of Law’s Clinical and Externship Programs:
For more information about the externship program please contact Vandana Sood, Supervising Lawyer, at [email protected]