Reflections on 2018-2019

Thank you to all our volunteers for another fantastic year! We are so grateful and proud of all the work you did. We had spectacular feedback from our community supervisors and affiliated programs all thanks to your hard work and dedication. For those curious about some of the projects we worked on, or are interested in joining PBSC next year, take a look at some of our student testimonials below!  

“Volunteering at Breakwater Law with Jo McFetridge was such a valuable experience. As an intern, I assisted Jo on pro bono files and gained exposure to family law. During my time at Breakwater, I learned how to draft a will, a notice of family claim, and a divorce order. I participated in client interviews, observed Jo in court, and provided support to clients. My final task was to draft a legal memo on a complex file that involved business and family law. Above all, I appreciated Jo’s mentorship and encountering firsthand some of the rewards and challenges that are common to pro bono files. 

Gurkiran Dhillon, 2L  


“It was engaging to work with a local organization who is actively involved in our community. PBSC is fantastic for building community connections.”


My PBSC project with the MS Society’s Volunteer Legal Advocacy Program involved interviewing clients living with MS and assisting them with applications for disability benefits. The goal is to help the client make a strong application and increase their chances of being approved for the disability benefit that they are applying for. It was a fulfilling placement because you work directly with each individual client over the course of a few weeks, and then the work that you do on their application has a direct and tangible impact on the client. I really enjoyed volunteering with the MS Society because I was able to speak with and help people from all around British Columbia, and I was also able to collaborate with other MS Society Volunteers. 

– Maggie Fleming, 2L 

Working with Bridges for Women Society as a PBSC volunteer has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my first year. In my role, I conducted legal research and assisted in developing an educational pamphlet for survivors of domestic violence. The final product outlined clients’ rights when engaging with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Throughout the year my project partner and I worked with a variety of wonderful and knowledgeable lawyers and social workers in the community, allowing me to become exposed to new areas of law and ways of practicing. I felt so proud to present the final product to the staff at Bridges for Women Society, and knowing that our product will positively impact the community going forward is a great reward. 

– Maddie Lusk, 1L 


 “It was great to have the chance to practice my legal research and writing skills in such a meaningful way for an important local organization.” 


This year, in partnership with Ready to Rent BC, we (Richard and Erin) were tasked with researching homelessness prevention legislation in jurisdictions outside of Canada. Our research focused predominantly on a regime enacted in Wales by way of the Housing (Wales) Act of 2014. This progressive legislation imposes a positive obligation on the state to make efforts to prevent or resolve a person’s homelessness status. Our efforts cumulated in a final report which summarizes our findings and considers whether similar legislation could be implemented in British Columbia, addressing the specific challenges of our context here in BC.  

Ultimately, this experience allowed us to develop our (rather new) legal research and writing skills and apply them to an incredibly important subject. Through this project, we were given the opportunity to engage deeply with the issue to evaluate how the law can affect positive change for those around us. It was engaging to work with a local organization who is actively involved in our community. PBSC is fantastic for building community connections.  

– Erin Miller, 2L and Richard Wagner 1L 

 This year, I was the team lead for a PBSC project working with Restorative Justice Victoria, a local non-profit organization which provides opportunities for offenders, victims, and others to come together to address the harms caused by crime and violence. Restorative justice is used to divert matters out of the settler legal system, or can be used in conjunction with the settler legal system.  

Our team was charged with the task of researching the circumstances under which Restorative Justice Victoria is able/required to share confidential information obtained throughout the restorative justice process, and the responsibility they have to make clients aware of these circumstances. 

We completed a research paper which summarizes privacy and record keeping requirements under provincial legislation, and touches on some implications of dealing with information pertaining to youth. We also considered the privilege of documents and whether it is possible to protect confidential information obtained in the restorative justice process from being used in court.   

Working on this project was a wonderful experience. The project allowed us to engage with interesting areas of law in a real-life context, and gave us the opportunity to connect with both a local lawyer and organization. It was great to have the chance to practice my legal research and writing skills in such a meaningful way for an important local organization. 

– Kara Ellison, 2L