History of LSLAP
The Law Students' Legal Advice Program was established over 35 years ago, when students from the UBC Faculty of Law operated a summer legal advice clinic under Vancouver Inner-City Services. This clinic eventually expanded to include a small number of clinics operating on a weekly basis during the school year. In 1978, the program was incorporated as the Greater Vancouver Law Students' Legal Advice Society, a non-profit society, to provide free legal advice and representation for those who cannot afford it. Since 1969, LSLAP has grown into a large organization of over 200 dedicated volunteer student clinicians staffing 20 legal clinics across the Greater Vancouver Regional District on a year-round basis.
Philosophy of LSLAP
LSLAP’s primary goals are to provide direct assistance to the client, as well as enable our students to educate the lay person in the use of the legal system. Herein lies our two-pronged approach: assistance and education.
This philosophy of both assisting and educating has very real application in our program. For example, students may assist clients in writing letters, negotiating with other parties, or preparing to appear on their own behalf in court. In other cases a student may fully represent clients in each step of working through the legal issue. In every case, emphasis always remains on assisting the client to solve their own legal problems. This is quite different from a traditional solicitor-client relationship in which the lawyer takes complete responsibility for management of the client's legal problems.
The LSLAP approach to the relationship between clinicians and clients enables students to take more time to explain the legal alternatives and the legal processes which are available to the client, thereby not only offering legal services to people who could not otherwise afford them, but also helping to de-mystify the law. In this way, it is hoped, the LSLAP client comes away from the program more aware and more comfortable in exercising their legal rights.