Manitoba Law Students’ Association and Faculty of Law sign agreement for critical change
From articling opportunities for diverse students to building renos for gender-neutral washrooms, change is coming to Robson Hall
The Faculty of Law recently announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Manitoba Law Students’ Association MLSA to accomplish two very needed areas of change. Commencing immediately, the Faculty and student group will fund two articling student positions especially for those graduating students facing challenges related to equity, diversity and inclusion. Also commencing right after exams, will be much-needed renovations to student spaces in Robson Hall, including gender-neutral washrooms and expanded study spaces.
EDI Articling Positions
Securing an articling position to complete the requirements to become a lawyer is critical for law students as they near the end of their third and final year of the Juris Doctor program. Unfortunately, some law students encounter greater difficulties finding articles than others. The Faculty of Law has therefore collaborated with the Manitoba Law Students’ Association (MLSA) to create two articling positions at Robson Hall intended as ‘safety nets’ for equity-seeking students facing systemic barriers during the regular articling recruit.
This initiative is available to Robson Hall students now, with the application deadline for individuals seeking a position for the 2023-2024 articling year as May 1, 2023.
Faculty of Law articling students will be supervised by the Faculty’s Director of Clinics, and will work on files at any of the Faculty’s clinics including the University of Manitoba Community Law Centre (UMCLC), the Rights Clinic, the Access to Justice Clinic, the Indigenous Rights Clinic, and the L. Kerry Vickar Business Law Clinic. They will also attend to work as assigned from the University of Manitoba’s legal department, the (MLSA) and other work assigned in cooperation with the Faculty of Law’s clinical externship partners.
With this wide variety of experiences, students should get a rich experience of practical training while attending the bar admission course known as the Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) run by the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) and administered through the Law Society of Manitoba.
The MLSA and the Faculty of Law will each pay half of the full amount of a competitive salary for a maximum of two articling student positions to ensure that any students unable to otherwise obtain an articling position through the regular recruitment process due to systemic barriers, can still be guaranteed a chance to pursue a career in the legal profession.
A pilot of this initiative was started last year with the first Faculty of Law articling student being hired in the summer of 2022.
University of Manitoba Faculty of Law students at Robson Hall facing EDI-related challenges may apply for the two articling positions here:
The daily life of a law student has changed greatly since Robson Hall was first constructed in 1969, and the needs of the MLSA student body in 2023 has long since outgrown mid-20th Century infrastructure. The student body has also grown and become more diverse. For example, in 1966, the preliminary description of the proposed building that became Robson Hall, contemplated restrooms and lockers for only 25 to 30 female students compared to 275 – 300 male students.
The MLSA and the Faculty of Law have thus designated funds to remodel Rooms 105, 105A, B, C, and D into a secure study space with key card access, individual study carrels, kitchenette, and Gender Inclusive Accessible Washrooms.
Construction work to implement these upgrades will commence this summer with completion estimated to be by the end of next year.