THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 579
The TRU Legal Clinic Society has been formally incorporated as a nonprofit
society with TRU as the sole member. Efforts are now underway to
recruit a board of directors that will reflect the diversity of Kamloops, our
region, the Secwepemc Nation and the legal profession. Our previous
supervising lawyer who served on a part-time basis, Ted Murray, has
accepted the employment offer to act as the founding, full-time executive
director. We are currently in the process of hiring another full-time lawyer
and a legal assistant/office manager and a part-time lawyer. We are also pursuing
a second location on the south shore of Kamloops and continuing our
fundraising efforts to expand the territory in which the Clinic can assist people
in need of free legal services.
Having such a solid financial and staff base will enable the Clinic to grow
considerably and thereby help to fill the vast unmet need for legal services in
civil matters in our region. With no free legal clinics east of Port Coquitlam,
it is not surprising how many people go unrepresented or are simply unable
to have their legal rights enforced and respected. Students wishing to participate
in the Clinic must also take a three-credit course in community lawyering
so as to have a foundational knowledge of common areas of poverty law
and the challenges of interacting with a broad range of clients in stressful situations.
This has meant to date that they can hit the ground running in the
Clinic and be more effective. Lawyers interested in serving as supervisors to
law students in the Clinic on a pro-bono basis are most welcome.
PRO BONO STUDENTS CANADA
Another new initiative launched this summer and made possible by funding
from the Law Foundation is the establishment of a TRU Pro Bono Students
Canada (“PBSC”) chapter. Law Foundation funding has enabled the
hiring of a TRU law student (Shane Hickey) as a full-time coordinator over
the summer. Shane will continue in this role on a part-time basis during the
upcoming year and be joined by another 2L coordinator (Alejandra Henao).
Both received funding to participate in the annual PBSC National Training
Program in Toronto in May. This initiative, led by assistant dean Alexis
Kazanowski, will operate in the same manner as the long-standing PBSC
chapters at UBC and UVic. The role of the coordinators is to approach
NGOs, community groups and lawyers to identify legal issues for which
TRU law students could undertake legal research on a voluntary basis.
Essential aspects of possible research projects are: (1) that they be appropriate
for teams of law students to address effectively; and (2) that there be a
lawyer in good standing who agrees to supervise the legal research and convey
the final product to the client organization.