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Super excited to start at UBC the fall and wanted to reach out for some advice regarding extracurriculars. I’m very interested in getting some practical legal experience immediately and hopefully making a positive impact. Looks like LSLAP and Probono students Canada are my best bets for 1L in this regard? I’ve seen some good feedback for LSLAP in this forum, anyone have any info on what PBSC is like? 
 

Any other non-law extracurriculars that you have found fun or useful? I’ve been doing toastmasters in undergrad and plan to continue that, maybe debate club too? 
 

Also, any advice for managing time between school and extracurriculars so I don’t get overwhelmed? Will be quitting my job before starting, but also imagine school can become quite busy at times so don’t want to over commit myself. 

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I'm not in LSLAP but I've heard good things from my friends there.  Some of them have already been to court multiple times, and it's flexible in that you can choose how much work you want to take on.

PBSC, on the other hand, is just ...

When you apply you can choose up to 10 positions/projects and rank them in order of preference.  Almost all of them just weren't very interesting, and the one or two positions that actually appealed to me were extremely competitive.  When I ultimately chose another clinic after my PBSC placement 4 of the other 6 members immediately dropped the next day, so that should tell you something about how much people want to do PBSC.

Non-law extracurriculars--I have non-law hobbies, but not necessarily non-law ECs.  With law ECs and schoolwork it's hard to juggle all three, but I'm sure if you are inclined you can find time.

To manage time between school and ECs, you can approach each separately and find ways to make them both manageable.  

For ECs, choose the ones you want to do and check the time commitment first. For example LSLAP's weekly commitment is variable, PBSC is 2-3 hours a week, etc.  If you choose more than one make sure not to overcommit.  It's generally recommended not to do both LSLAP and PBSC, but one of LSLAP and PBSC plus one or two more ECs with a lower time commitment is doable.

For school, try to do all or most of the readings but don't burn yourself out trying to finish readings for the sake of finishing them.  Don't be pressured by people who talk about their study methods.  Some people read cases twice, some take notes on the whole reading, some brief cases as they go, etc.  Do what works for you and don't feel like you have to do a requisite amount of work to be caught up with others.  I personally didn't brief a single case and skipped some readings I thought were unnecessary but I did fine last term.

Feel free to PM me with any other questions or about UBC in general!

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LSLAP and PBSC are fundamentally different. LSLAP is a legal clinic where students provide legal advice or representation with the supervision of a lawyer. Work varies from closing letters to (very rarely) full trials. PBSC is an umbrella organization that connects students to a variety of community services. Not all of these services do legal work

There are lots of extracurricular activities at Allard so go for what interests you personally. Sadly, some of them didn't run or were exclusively on Zoom in the past year (which made engagement more difficult). A list of them should be available on your orientation page (if one has been set up as of yet - I think they're still hiring the orientation coordinators).

As another poster pointed out, it can be easy to oversubscribe oneself with activities from the get-go and become overwhelmed. If this happens to you, let the student leader of whatever organization you're involved in know of your intentions to leave (all of them will be understanding). You don't want to just cut and run, especially if you're handling client files. 

@meandtheboys I didn't do PBSC but I heard the upper-year offerings are a lot more interesting and are more likely to involve real legal work. 

Edited by Psychometronic
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15 minutes ago, Psychometronic said:

You don't want to just cut and run, especially if you're handling client files.

As an aside, as a volunteer with LSLAP I was appalled to learn that law students did this. LSLAP sometimes is dismissed by snobs for dealing with "trivial" matters, but there are a wide variety of files there that are immensely important in the lives of those affected (e.g. evictions, wrongful dismissals, criminal charges, etc).

As you say, it's totally understandable to tell someone you are overwhelmed and work with them on transferring files, etc. But for those that just leave their clients hanging, well, at least I sure as hell am going to remember their names forever and ensure I never refer any clients to them, even 20 years from now. And I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way.

(I just want to emphasize to those reading: yeah, don't be that guy.)

Edited by CleanHands
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On 1/25/2021 at 11:30 AM, CleanHands said:

As an aside, as a volunteer with LSLAP I was appalled to learn that law students did this. LSLAP sometimes is dismissed by snobs for dealing with "trivial" matters, but there are a wide variety of files there that are immensely important in the lives of those affected (e.g. evictions, wrongful dismissals, criminal charges, etc).

As you say, it's totally understandable to tell someone you are overwhelmed and work with them on transferring files, etc. But for those that just leave their clients hanging, well, at least I sure as hell am going to remember their names forever and ensure I never refer any clients to them, even 20 years from now. And I hope I'm not the only one who feels this way.

(I just want to emphasize to those reading: yeah, don't be that guy.)

Do people do that? I recall it being made fairly clear that clinicians were on the hook for their current files. You can transfer them then leave, but until that point it was on you, and there could be some sort of disciplinary measure if you abandoned them. Beyond that I can’t imagine why you would join a volunteer organization, founded on helping those with few other options, and then just abandon the obligations that you signed up for, dreadful. 

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16 minutes ago, PlatoandSocrates said:

Do people do that? I recall it being made fairly clear that clinicians were on the hook for their current files. You can transfer them then leave, but until that point it was on you, and there could be some sort of disciplinary measure if you abandoned them. Beyond that I can’t imagine why you would join a volunteer organization, founded on helping those with few other options, and then just abandon the obligations that you signed up for, dreadful. 

When it does happen it's most commonly the result of people signing up and taking on a bunch of work at the beginning of 1L, then losing their shit after school and volunteer pressures built up and stressed them out, and just dipping out without saying anything (embarrassment I guess?) to focus on school. Abandonment of files like this gets discovered during file audits and then execs and clinic heads have to scramble to repair the damage.

As far as I'm aware (I was not an LSLAP exec or anything), there is no consequence whatsoever for clinicians that do this. I was also an advocate for there being far more consequence. If people are going to pull that before they even graduate law school they have no business being called, as far as I'm concerned.

EDIT - I could be wrong about there being no consequence for this behaviour, nobody take this as legal advice, nobody take post as reassurance that they can get away with this sort of thing or should do it.

Edited by CleanHands
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1 hour ago, PlatoandSocrates said:

Do people do that? I recall it being made fairly clear that clinicians were on the hook for their current files. You can transfer them then leave, but until that point it was on you, and there could be some sort of disciplinary measure if you abandoned them. Beyond that I can’t imagine why you would join a volunteer organization, founded on helping those with few other options, and then just abandon the obligations that you signed up for, dreadful. 

Dropping a file can result in law society (specifically LSBC) disciplinary issues. If not, you’d certainly be remembered by generations of clinicians as well as the student leadership and supervising lawyers :)

Edited by Psychometronic

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I did both.

LSLAP is way more stressful and time-consuming. I enjoyed PBSC as well but I was in a placement that involved more legal work. I found both were rewarding. It's worth noting that you may need to miss classes for LSLAP if you pick up a file that has a court date set. 

I would recommend picking one or the other in 1L. 

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I did PBSC in 1L and really enjoyed it because I got to do legal research and writing and basically apply stuff I was learning in school to live issues. That being said, many of my friends in PBSC complained they didn't get very interesting work or work that really helped build any strictly legal skills. I think it reaallyy depends on the organization you get placed with. 

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