Discovering the type of advocate you will be
Faculty of Law student Hayley Allardyce shares her summer experiences.
Fall term is starting and students are back on campus. While it may be time for back to school, UM Today is reflecting on summer by sharing some of the exceptional things U of M students were up to over the break.
Hayley Allardyce is entering her third and final year at Robson Hall, Faculty of Law, where she will be taking a number of clinical-based criminal law classes.
What did you do this summer?
I worked as a student supervisor at the University Law Centre (ULC), which is a student run criminal law office that is funded by Legal Aid and supervised by practising legal aid Lawyers. The ULC office primarily represents clients facing summary conviction offences that range from impaired operation of a motor vehicle, driving over the legal limit and refusal to comply with breath demands to assault, utter threats, break and enter, mischief, failure to comply/appear and provincial statute based offences. When individuals meet the financial requirements of Legal Aid, but their charges do not involve a risk of jail time, they often are represented by students from the ULC under the supervision of lawyers. Our office helps to alleviate access to justice issues by ensuring everyone has representation. As one of four student supervisors, I would have conduct of approximately 40 files at any one time. This allowed me to have a variety of opportunities – from file analysis, drafting legal documents and interviewing clients to conducting sentencing hearings, and running and prepping trials. The experience has been invaluable.
I am also a program facilitator and board of directors’ member of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Manitoba, which kept me busy over the summer as well.
How did you discover this opportunity?
The ULC allows students from Robson Hall to volunteer through their second year of law school. By volunteering throughout my second year, I was able to apply for the student supervisor position that following summer. Based on the volunteer experience that I had gained and my interest in criminal law it was a natural fit.
What did you like most about this experience?
This opportunity is by far the most practical and valuable experience I have had in my law school experience. It provides students interested in criminal law defense work the opportunity to see what that practice is like and get experience analyzing legal issues and advocating for clients. The guidance that is provided from legal aid provides the perfect balance of instruction and support, but also allows you to be independent and discover the type of advocate you will be upon graduating. I know that I will be a much stronger lawyer once I begin practicing as a result of this experience. I would hands-down recommend this opportunity to anyone interested in criminal law.
What type of impact did this endeavour have for you?
It’s shown me how crucial it is for individuals within the justice system to be represented and how important the role of defense counsel is within the criminal justice system. I have learned about the struggles faced by people that are disadvantaged and marginalized in our community, and how being a sympathetic advocate for these individuals can go a long way.
With summer quickly coming to an end, what do you look forward to most going into the new school year this fall?
I am very much looking forward to getting to keep my role as a student supervisor, but instead of it being a paid position, it will be for class credit. Also, going into third year allows for many more clinical based class opportunities. I also can’t wait to be finished law school and start my articles!