Rise Women’s Legal Centre provides an experiential learning opportunity in a non-profit social justice environment for both law student and social work students. We welcome applications from students of all gender identities. We are also committed to providing opportunities for student members of communities that have historically been under-represented or unwelcome in the legal profession, including Indigenous students, radicalized students, and students with disabilities.
Student Legal Clinic
Rise Women’s Legal Centre hosts a year-round legal clinic, staffed by upper year law students from UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law, who are carefully trained and closely supervised by Rise’s staff lawyers. Rise’s full-time externship is offered three times a year and can accept up to six law students.
The externship program consists of two complementary courses: Law 429 and Law 431D, which are worth a total of 15 academic credits and fulfil the major paper requirement. Both courses take place on-site at Rise. Students are granted temporary articles by the Law Society of BC and, upon successful completion of the Rise externship, receive academic credit for their semester’s work.
The Women’s Legal Clinic course begins with a three-week training period, after which students run their own caseload at Rise. Rise works primarily in family law, on issues including family violence, parenting arrangements, child support, spousal support and divorce. Services includes summary legal advice or opinions, desk order divorces, document drafting and negotiations, and in some cases courtroom representation in Provincial Court.
The co-requisite Externship Reflections course enhances and supports students’ understanding of community legal practice by allowing them to situate their clinical work within a broader social justice context. The Reflections course encourages students to read, discuss and reflect on themes specific to women and the law, legal advocacy, and other themes arising from their clinical experience.
All students applying to the clinical externship program at Rise must be currently enrolled in their second or third year of law at the Peter A. Allard School of Law, and have completed Evidence by the beginning of the externship. (Family Law is also strongly recommended.)
Students may apply for the externship program through the Peter A. Allard School of Law: https://allard.ubc.ca/student-portal/jd-program/experiential-opportunities/clinics-and-externships
For more information about the externship program please contact Sarah Szymanski, Office Assistant, at [email protected].
Social work practicum
Rise Women’s Legal Centre is an interdisciplinary student teaching clinic. We accept social work students from all accredited social work programs and can take up to two students per semester (we can take summer placements as well).
Rise’s practicum placement is a unique opportunity to learn transferable skills to promote access to justice in all areas of social work.
Students will work directly with clients under supervision, learn about other services in BC and how to make meaningful referrals, and work collaboratively with the staff and students providing legal services at Rise. Practicum students have daily support from supervisors.
Articling & Incubator program
Rise’s Incubator Program creates a pathway from our student clinical program to private practice in family law.
Students who complete the externship at Rise may apply for our full-time Articling Student position, to build on what they have learned and move smoothly into the next stage of their legal education. The Articling Student provides continuity on client files, minimizes gaps in service between student terms, and works on more complex client files before they are called to the Bar and become our ‘incubator’ lawyer, launching their own practice within Rise.
We provide the newly-called incubator lawyer with office space & resources, client referrals, opportunities and funding for Continuing Legal Education, insurance and practice fees, plus ongoing support from staff lawyers.
This allows them to build up their clientele and law practice for one full year, to the point where they have achieved professional independence and leave their space at Rise to be passed on to the newest incubator lawyer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do I have to be a woman to be a student at Rise Women’s Legal Centre?
No. We encourage all students who are interested in understanding how to do access to justice work focusing on the needs and experiences of women and gender diverse clients to apply to join us.
How many students will there be?
Rise hosts up to six law students from Peter A Allard School of Law and 2 social work students from a variety of social work schools.
What is the training like?
All students at Rise do an introductory three-week orientation to learn the basics of family law and targeted training opportunities based on their program. This training is interdisciplinary and both law students and social work students will have opportunities to be in training together by lawyers and social work staff.
Will I be working with clients?
Once you complete our three-week orientation, each program has its own process to ease students into doing active client work. Law students will have their own clients, whose files they manage, and this may include going to court – we aim for law students to have one to two court opportunities per semester, and you will always have a lawyer there with you!
Can I attend part time?
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to attend Rise’s academic programs part-time. We recognize that this may be a barrier for some students. If you are interested in working with Rise, but can’t join one of our academic programs, contact our Equality Clinic ([email protected]) which accepts student volunteers who support clients with name and gender correcting documents for Indigenous, trans, non-binary and gender diverse clients.
What supervision can a student expect at Rise?
As a student clinic we think it’s extremely important that students have access not just to supervisors, but to mentors. The Law Student clinic has one full time supervisor and one part-time supervisor for up to six students.
Our social work practicum students have two staff that have social work backgrounds available for supervision and mentorship, as well as the broader team to support them in their learning. There are daily check-in’s as well as opportunities for shadowing staff.
What is the work environment at Rise like?
Rise’s main office is located at the corner of Richards and Pender under Hotel Canada. We have a slightly hipster aesthetic with brick walls and big windows. Students have their own dedicated computer and desk. Law students are expected to be at Rise full time from Monday to Friday during orientation, and Monday to Thursday for the remainder of the term. Social work student schedules may vary with the requirements of their practicums. Most trainings and seminars are held in our boardroom, but there may be some training done by zoom as well.
Rise believes deeply in improving access to justice and we recognize that many people, with diverse identities and voices, do not feel that they have a space in law. As such we work hard to ensure that Rise has a culture of openness, a focus on challenging conventional ways of being, and a willingness to challenge our own assumptions – we think law can and must be done differently to improve access to justice.