Introduction to TRU Community Legal Clinic
By Eli Zbar
CLC Student Clinician, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law J.D. Candidate
Founded in January 2016, the Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law Community Legal Clinic (CLC) is the first legal clinic of its kind in the Interior of British Columbia. The CLC is operated by a passionate team of law students, faculty and lawyers providing legal assistance and information to those otherwise unable to afford it. The office is an open, accessible and inclusive environment committed to improving access to justice.
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU
The CLC practice areas include primarily of:
- residential tenancy;
- estate law; and
- consumer protection.
Due to budgetary and insurance constraints, we have a limited scope of who we can represent and in what areas. For most of my clients, I am only able to provide one-time, summary advice. This summary advice attempts to illustrate a path to resolving their issues using freely available resources such as Clicklaw and the Legal Services Society.
WHO WE ARE
The CLC is the foundation upon which TRU Law is building a rigorous, intensive, student clinician program. I have the distinct honour of filling the first ever full-time CLC summer position. My journey to this point began in September 2015, when I enrolled in “Community Lawyering.” This class, taught by one of the CLC supervising professors, is a prerequisite to becoming a CLC clinician. Once a student successfully completes Community Lawyering, they are eligible to apply to the both the credited and paid clinician positions.
CLC students are exposed to a breadth of legal issues in an unconventional workplace. Our office is located within the pre-existing Kamloops Centre for Services and Information (CSI). The CSI is a well-established hub of community support and activity. People are accustomed to relying on the CSI; it is a one-stop-shop offering everything from our legal counsel, to accounting, to education and bingo. Sharing space with the CSI provides both the exposure and environment necessary to ensure a steady flow of new clients.
HOW I CAN HELP
Clinical work offers an experience unique from many other law student opportunities. I manage files from intake to closing, with all the steps in between. Since the CLC’s mandate is to serve low-income individuals, I do not facilitate private transactions or business operations.
CLC clients seek our help in situations where immense power imbalances exist, for instance, between landlord and tenant. My clients’ legal issues are intertwined, if not symptomatic of, other challenges they face. Working with this demographic demands a keen understanding of the nexus between socioeconomic, legal, health and other issues. That is why my primary goal is to parse clients’ legal issues and explain where they stand currently in the procedure, and in terms of rights, risks and obligations.
CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION
If you would like to know more about the CLC, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call the CLC at 778-471-8490, or come visit us at Unit 9A-1800 Tranquille Road, Kamloops, BC, V2B 3L9.
STAY INFORMED WITH TRU COMMUNITY LEGAL CLINIC: