THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 5 P A R T 4 J U L Y 2 0 1 7 599
Erin Dawn Dance
Erin came to us here in Vancouver from London,
Ontario, having graduated from Huron University
College and feeling ready to embark on the next
chapter of her life: law school at UBC. Erin was one
of those rare birds who knew from a young age—in
her case, the age of 12—that she wanted to be a
lawyer. And not just any lawyer—a criminal defence
lawyer, to be precise. Erin thus spent her three years at law school focusing
on achieving that goal, honing her advocacy skills, developing relationships
with future colleagues and mentors, and exuding passion for all areas of
criminal law. She joined any and all study groups and programs she could
find related to the subject, such as the Innocence Project. Erin soaked up
everything on offer in law school and the more she learned, the more professors,
clinical instructors and comrades she met, the more her resolve to
become a criminal lawyer strengthened.
As dedicated as Erin was to equipping herself academically and professionally,
she was just as focused on enjoying her environment in Vancouver.
Erin always lived near the water: initially by Jericho Beach, then
Kitsilano Beach and ultimately calling a funky studio apartment near Crab
Park at Portside home. Erin’s toes touched every grain of sand on Vancouver’s
beaches and she walked every inch of the seawall, never taking for
granted the beauty of her surroundings. No distance was too great for Erin
to cover, and even after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in
April 2016, Erin still got out to walk the shores of our city and catch up with
friends and visiting family when she was able. Erin found comfort, peace
and focus by the water. Even during stressful times in law school or in criminal
practice, Erin often brought work to her “office away from the office”—
a sturdy driftwood log on the beach with unobstructed mountain views.
In law school, Erin did not let her schooling completely take over her life.
She did not have many rules, but one decree Erin stuck to fairly religiously
was never to start work after 9 p.m. No matter the pressure of exams, paper
writing or reading assignments, if nine o’clock had passed and Erin had not
yet started, Ms. Dance would not crack open a book or fire up her laptop.
Erin took her downtime seriously and came to find and foster a number of
restorative outlets, be it hot yoga sessions, barre fitness or dance classes at
a number of studios in and around Vancouver. Erin loved busting out her