THE ADVOCATE 565
VOL. 78 PART 4 JULY 2020
PETER A. ALLARD
SCHOOL OF LAW
By Simmi Puri*
INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC GOES VIRTUAL
Like so many downtown storefronts, boards have gone up over the office
windows of 148 Alexander Street, the home of Allard Law’s Indigenous
Community Legal Clinic (“ICLC”). But the ICLC’s much-needed services are
far from shut down.
Located in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, the ICLC provides free legal
services to the Indigenous community throughout the province, helping
clients with needs in a wide variety of legal areas including criminal law,
family law, civil rights law, labour and employment law, and Aboriginal law.
It also provides students with an invaluable opportunity to learn critical
lawyering skills in a supervised setting, complementing their classroom
Kiera Stel is a second-year law student and a student clinician with the
ICLC. The sudden closure of their office meant that Kiera and the rest of the
team had to act quickly to find ways to continue their operations online.
Kiera recently took some time out to answer a few questions about what
this experience has been like for her and what the ICLC looks like today.
Given the current reality created by physical distancing measures, how is the
ICLC continuing to serve the needs of the community?
As the situation evolved quickly in mid-March, each clinician spent time
scanning their individual files and uploading them to an online platform.
This was a lot of work, as there are about 150 open files at the clinic right
now. The clinic quickly and collaboratively developed new and flexible policies
for record keeping and tracking our work. We also had to find ways to
connect with our clients, whether over phone, e-mail or Zoom, and to
* Simmi Puri is the communications manager for the Peter A. Allard School of Law.