876 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 77 PART 6 NOVEMBER 2019
the program prevents a domino effect that can prevent individuals from
addressing the conditions in their lives they would like to change.
Last year, an enterprising student, Emmett Rogers, identified another
group that faces difficulty accessing identification: trans individuals who
wish to change their name or gender marker. This process can be confusing,
especially for those born in another province, and some have difficulty
affording the fees. After a year of planning and training, regular Trans ID
clinics facilitated by UVic law student volunteers are set to begin this year.2
Law students can help in criminal law, as well. In the #MeToo era, disclosures
of sexual assault to high school teachers have gone up, according to
those I have spoken to.3 However, high schools generally do not have a consistent
policy as to what teachers should do in these situations, according to
the Victoria Sexual Assault Centre (“VSAC”), another of our partner organizations.
Some teachers try to limit their liability by calling the local police first.
Others call administration, and still others call parents or guidance counsellors.
Schools are also inconsistent in how they deal with the aftermath, which
can cause further trauma for the survivor as months go on. This year, UVic
law students will help VSAC by researching liability issues that high school
administrators should consider when making a disclosure procedure policy.
The following year, UVic volunteers will return to interview these administrators
alongside VSAC staff to help them produce these policies.
These projects and many others like them demonstrate that law students
can have a huge impact on communities and organizations that serve vulnerable
populations. Other projects provide education to the general public
on legal issues, and yet others involve the drafting of tailored legal memos
that require deeper research.
Experiential Learning and Pro Bono Work
A common anxiety among law students is not having a long enough resume
to catch the eye of an employer. Students seek practical experience beyond
the required courses that everyone else has. Administrators and academics
recognize the value of such experience. The Carnegie Foundation’s 2007
report entitled Educating Lawyers4 called for what many law schools are
now describing as “experiential learning”. This includes clinical terms and
in-class exercises as well as volunteer opportunities like those provided by
PBSC. But pro bono experiences provide more than hands-on lessons to supplement
a traditional legal education; they also start students on a habit of
giving back by donating hours of legal work5 and, sometimes more importantly,
expanding their awareness of the legal needs of their community.
The truth is that experiential learning opportunities are not all the same.
The path a student takes through law school shapes their attitude towards