When a 1L is asked what they might like to do over the summer, there are two standard answers. The first is to work for a judge. The second is to work at a firm where the student is able to gain exposure to many areas of law with the hope of finding one in particular that he or she might like to pursue. I chose door number two.
Working at the BC Legal Assistance Bureau is a whirlwind tour of the law, and I have indeed been able to home in on various areas that I’d like to pursue. However, by the end of the first week I realized that that would not be my focus during my time at BC LAB. Instead, the real learning experience would come from client interactions.
In my limited time in the legal field, I have found that many students focus solely on the law. (As I may have been guilty of prior to working at BC LAB!) Students forget that they are in a service industry and will necessarily deal with people. And, no matter what field you are in, it is likely that you will work with people who have recently undergone trauma, who have mental impairments, or who want to tell you everything. It is difficult to know what is going on in the mind of the person across the table, and only experience can help a budding attorney develop the skills necessary to speak with clients the right way. From what I can gather, the right way comforts the client and simultaneously elicits information.
Client experience is not only important for learning how to conduct a client meeting efficiently and professionally, however. In fact, that is but the tip of the iceberg. What is really unique, and often overlooked, about these experiences are the moral and ethical dilemmas that arise out of such interactions. As the head LAB attorney expressed on my first day, these everyday moral/ethical dilemmas are what really make the work interesting.
And that’s why I’m here. Few legal professionals take the time to sit down and talk about the ethical decisions they are forced to make on a daily basis because of the fast-paced nature of the industry. There just isn’t the time. So, I’m making that time for you, budding attorneys. I’ll give you the whole story, exposing my green moments as I fumble through my first real hands-on legal job. I’ll introduce you to my work and my clients. I’ll take you through the highs and lows of my growth, of my clients’ stories and of our interactions. I hope to capture what isn’t taught in law school and what people forget to mention when you tell them that you want to be an attorney… the human aspect.
And please check out my youtube video, welcoming you!